Council Talks Cannabis Sales Tax, Nokia Campus, and More

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It was an empty room but a crowded screen for last night’s virtual Naperville City Council meeting. Conducting the meeting over Zoom to decrease social contact due to COVID-19, the council covered several issues.

Cannabis Sales Tax

Council voted 6-3 to establish a 3% tax on potential sales. This vote did not permit the sale of the drug – that discussion will come at a future meeting – but will allow the city to collect cannabis sales tax revenue starting on July 1, should council approve adult-use sales.

Naperville residents voted in a non-binding referendum on March 17 on the issue, with 53% of voters in favor of adult-use cannabis sales.

Nokia Campus

Council also discussed a proposed residential development going into part of the Nokia campus.

The group voted unanimously to subdivide the property and rezone one of the lots to R2 Residential. Some nearby residents were concerned that the development would take away from some of the natural spaces in the area.

“It’s a big reason why the vast majority of our neighbors live in this neighborhood is the connection with the forest preserve,” said Fairmeadow Neighborhood Association resident James Butt, who joined the meeting via Zoom.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County submitted a letter stating concerns about storm water management and requesting the chance to submit comments when developments are proposed.

Bill Novack, the city’s director of transportation, engineering, and development, said storm water management is much more sophisticated now than when the surrounding houses went in.

“The vast, vast majority of all developments have improved or at least kept the drainage the same at adjacent properties over the years,” he said.

Nokia plans to sell their property and lease back office space for their employees.

Councilmember’s Comment

The meeting finished with a discussion on a comment made by Councilwoman Patty Gustin at the March 3 council meeting regarding Councilwoman Judy Brodhead’s and Councilman Benny White’s position on recreational marijuana sales in Naperville.

At the March 3 meeting, Gustin said, “I’m kind of surprised I have two teachers sitting next to me promoting recreational marijuana distribution and that’s their right as teachers.”

Last night, Mayor Chirico called it a “personal attack” and issued a warning to Gustin and all members of the council that future comments like this will be met with a call to vote for censure.

Gustin said last night that she left messages with both Brodhead and White after the incident and apologized on the dais that night.

She defended herself last night saying, “It was just a question of two skilled teachers asking the question from the dais regarding the recreational marijuana question. That was all that that was. And again, it was not my intent, and I apologize if it was taken the wrong way, it was not my intent”

The council then went into closed session.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.


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