Additional cannabis dispensary proposed in East Dubuque

EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — East Dubuque City Council members on Monday got their first look at plans for a new cannabis dispensary proposed for a formerly condemned property in the downtown area.

UHCC Inc., based in Portland, Ore., recently submitted an application for a conditional use permit to construct an adult-use cannabis dispensary at 69 and 79 Sinsinawa Ave.

Council members viewed the application but did not discuss it at their meeting Monday. The request will go before the city’s zoning board at its meeting at 5 p.m. July 11.

“Since we gave (zoning board members) the information, we wanted to make sure you had the information that was already out there,” Assistant City Manager Alyssa Darnall told council members.

Dave Sendt, owner of the properties at 69 and 79 Sinsinawa Ave., said after the meeting that negotiations with UHCC Inc. are ongoing.

“Hopefully, everything will be approved, and then after that, we’ll see what happens,” Sendt said. “There’s a lot of things for us to work out with that group. We’re really at the beginning stages.”

Sendt purchased the condemned property at 69 Sinsinawa for $50 in August. He and his wife, Janie, run Janvie Properties, which also owns the adjacent building at 79 Sinsinawa. That building currently houses Incognito Bar, whose owners lease the building from the Sendts.

Dave Sendt said “everything is really up in the air” regarding whether the proposed dispensary would be located at one or both of the properties.

Last summer, UHCC Inc. received a license to operate an adult-use cannabis dispensary in the northwest Illinois nonmetropolitan district, which includes East Dubuque.

After city officials heard from multiple entities interested in opening a dispensary last fall, City Council members voted in December to approve an amended ordinance reducing the minimum distance between licensed dispensaries from 15,000 feet to 5,000 feet.

The previous ordinance had been enacted at the request of the city’s only current dispensary, The Dispensary East Dubuque, which opened in May 2021 at 1709 Illinois 35 N. The minimum distance of 15,000 feet had precluded a second licensed dispensary within city limits, while the new 5,000-foot ordinance could allow up to three, depending on the location of each business.

The special use permit application states that UHCC, which plans to do business as Bridge City Collective, would demolish the building at 69 Sinsinawa and construct a new structure. This would represent an investment of about $2.5 million.

“The project will enhance the use and development of adjacent and nearby property by attracting additional shoppers and encouraging new investment in the Sinsinawa Avenue commercial corridor,” the application states.

The proposed dispensary would have 4,904 square feet of floor area, with 1,899 square feet of retail space, according to the application. No cannabis could be consumed on site.

The application states that the proposed dispensary would create approximately 25 to 30 jobs and attract 250 to 300 customers per week.

City Council member Jeff Burgmeier said after the meeting that he was undecided on whether he felt the dispensary would be a positive development for the proposed location, as customer traffic could create a lack of parking.

“If it does happen, there’s not going to be a lot of parking for people on Main Street, and we do have people down there in apartments that obviously need parking,” he said.

The application states that the proposed project “will not materially increase traffic or the need for parking in the area” and that the retail floor area for the proposed dispensary is not large enough to require any new off-street parking under the city’s zoning ordinances.

Burgmeier indicated that he would like to see more information on the project, though he noted that the financial benefits of having an additional dispensary would be a boost to the city.

East Dubuque receives regular sales tax and an additional 3% excise tax from sales at any dispensaries in city limits. In one month last summer, the city collected $18,719 in tax revenue from sales at The Dispensary.

“It’d be great for us, as far as getting our money, but whether it’s good for Main Street in East Dubuque, I’m not sure about that,” Burgmeier said.