Public hearing set for proposed Moline cannabis dispensary

The former Aldi grocery store, located at 2727 Avenue of the Cities, Moline, could become the site of a new cannabis dispensary if a special-use permit is approved by the city.
The former Aldi grocery store, located at 2727 Avenue of the Cities, Moline, could become the site of a new cannabis dispensary if a special-use permit is approved by the city. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

The City of Moline staff is recommending that the city’s planning commission OKs a special-use permit for a recreational-use cannabis dispensary in the Avenue of the Cities redevelopment that previously housed an Aldi grocery store.

A staff report, as well as a list of conditions staff say should be met before the dispensary can be located at 2727 Avenue of the Cities, was created in advance of a Moline Plan Commission special-use-permit public hearing. The hearing will be held at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24, in the Council Chambers at Moline City Hall, 619 16th St.

Applicants for the license are Deeprootz, LLC, and Dan Dolan, listed as owner of Dolan Commons, in the staff report. 

Deeprootz, LLC – which lists its mailing address as the North Shore Chicago suburb of Highwood, Illinois – was awarded a conditional license Saturday, Aug. 6, for an adult recreational-use mairjuana dispensary in the Quad Cities. The approval came from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). 

It was among 55 conditional licensees selected in a lottery from a pool of 589 applicants, all of whom were selected because of their high “social equity” status. Eligible applicants were required to have at least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who have lived for five of the past 10 years in areas disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs or if they or family members have been arrested or convicted with minor cannabis offenses. 

Mr. Dolan, who did not reply to a request for comment from the QCBJ, is owner of Dan Dolan Homes, Inc., Davenport. The developer bought and redeveloped the former Aldi discount grocery store in Moline into several tenant properties as well as demolished a nearby gas station and restaurant. The redevelopment now is home to Suzi’s Slots and Rustic barber shop.

If approved, this will not be Mr. Dolan’s first cannabis business. He owns two recreational marijuana dispensaries north of the Quad Cities in Fulton and East Dubuque, Illinois. 

Mr. Dolan and Mina Guiahi, managing partner of Subsero Capital, a private equity fund focused on cannabis investment, submitted interested party forms in the runup to Wednesday’s public hearing. When contacted by the QCBJ, Ms. Guiahi directed questions to the email of Deeprootz representative John Sholar, who declined to share anything about the company and its plans for the Moline location.

Those attending Wednesday’s public hearing will have an opportunity to hear details of the request and voice comments or concerns to the commission. 

According to the special-use permit application, the property is a 2.1-acre tract of land, zoned Neighborhood Center (NC) District, and improved with an existing multi-tenant commercial building. City documents show the proposed sales location is in the southern portion of the former Aldi building and special-use permit approval is required before the dispensary moves forward.

NC districts are designed to provide small-scale commercial uses – generally in buildings 10,000 square feet or smaller – that serve the needs of surrounding area residents, according to the staff report. 

On Wednesday, Aug. 10, the planning commission recommended an amendment to the Adult Use Cannabis regulations that would permit the establishment of an adult use cannabis dispensary within the overlay areas so long as they have been awarded a special-use permit.

City staff, led by project manager and City Planner Sean Foley, also reviewed the required plans and a traffic impact and parking study by Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. 

The study determined the traffic and parking demands created by the dispensary “can be accommodated by the existing access, roadway network, and parking supply with no modifications necessary.” The site has dedicated turn lanes, is adjacent to other businesses and is on the No. 30 MetroLINK route, the staff report said. The development area also has an existing fence and landscaping adjacent to the residential uses to the north of the site.

The proposed site’s proximity to Interstate 74 and its central location along the Avenue of the Cities also “makes this an ideal location for both a local and regional customer base,” the report said.

The recommendation also said that a cannabis dispensary is part of a Moline Comprehensive Plan that was designed to “promote development of new business and institutions.”

While not specifically mentioned in comprehensive plan, the report said “the cannabis industry is part of the ‘new economy’ mentioned in the objectives of Goal 3.”

The industry also was included in an Avenue of the Cities Vision and Implementation Strategy, which included the goal of increasing and diversifying the economic activity along Moline’s Avenue of the Cities corridor. 

Also as part of its recommendation, staff included 20 conditions the project must meet – many tailored to adult-use cannabis dispensary retail sale space, which will fill 7,572 square feet of the building. 

They include:

  • Compliance with all laws and administrative rules, including the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
  • In addition to state-imposed security requirements, the dispensary must install and maintain security, video surveillance, and inventory protection and control systems according to a plan approved by Moline’s Chief of Police prior to opening and reviewed each year after that. It also must comply with any other safeguards the chief requires in response to special security concerns.
  • In addition to state-imposed air treatment requirements, the zoning administrator may impose additional air treatment requirements to control odor.
  • The applicant must comply with all state, county, and city regulations governing cannabis waste.
  • Drive-thru windows and curbside delivery are prohibited on the property.
  • On-premises cannabis consumption is prohibited at the dispensary in any form, including its parking lot, or anywhere on the property. 
  • No person under the age of 21 will be permitted to enter the business.
  • The dispensary is subject to random and unannounced inspections by local law enforcement and, when a reasonable cause of a violation exists, the dispensary will be subject to inspections by the zoning administrator, police department or other city agents.

If approved by the commission, the application would be forwarded to Moline’s Committee of the Whole and City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 30, for introduction and the ordinance’s first reading. If approved on second reading, the ordinance would be adopted Tuesday, Sept. 13.  

If you go:

Who: Moline Plan Commission

What: Public hearing for cannabis dispensary

When: 4 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 24

Where: Moline City Hall, 619 19th St.

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