Dispensary in the works near Willow Knolls shopping center

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:48 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Construction on a new dispensary near Willow Knolls shopping center could happen in the near future. But it hasn’t come without some opposition.

Last Thursday, Peoria’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously green-lit a special use ordinance for a recreational marijuana facility. That means if it gets full approval, the city can still put conditions on the operation, including operating hours. The business would go into the old Applebee’s in front of Willow Knolls, facing War Memorial.

While the commission voted in favor of the ordinance, it’s not the final decision. If the city council also approves, the business has to get an operational permit from the state before construction can start.

“The real question will be if the other shop owners have a disagreement with it, or if that’s just been blown out of proportion,” says District Three councilman Tim Riggenbach.

Not all parties involved are happy with the potential new tenant. An attorney for Willow Knolls, Robert Hills, has spoken out against the decision, saying in a statement, “The Willow Knolls Shopping Center is not an appropriate location for a cannabis dispensary.” When asked for further comment, he declined.

“Based on what we’ve seen, there’s criteria that are in place, and if you check those boxes you qualify. So that’s kind of where we are at at this point,” adds Riggenbach, who says nothing about this process has been much different than the approval for the city’s other two dispensaries. He says since the site is in a commercial district, it appears to be in an acceptable location.

The Applebee’s property is independent of the shopping center. No other opposition has been raised to the proposal.

The council is set to vote on the dispensary during their second meeting of the month, scheduled for September 27th.

Fourth District councilmember Andre Allen did not respond to our request for comment.

Fourth District councilman Andre Allen did not respond to our request for comment. The Applebee’s is located in his district.