News Local/State

Savoy Bars Cannabis Businesses, Despite Interest From A Landowner

Village of Savoy welcome sign

Village of Savoy welcome sign Village of Savoy

The Savoy Village Board voted Wednesday night to bar any cannabis-related businesses from opening within their borders.

Village manager Dick Helton thought there was no rush for Savoy trustees to decide on the cannabis business question. But he says that changed a couple of weeks ago, when a landowner contacted him, expressing interest in possibly hosting a recreational dispensary.

“And they own several pieces of property in Savoy, Champaign and Urbana,” said Helton, who did not identify the landowner. “So it’s not just Savoy that they’re looking at, but Savoy is a real possibility.”

With trustee Bill Vavirk absent, the board voted 5 to nothing to prohibit all cannabis businesses in Savoy. Among various concerns, trustees said most resident they heard from opposed allowing the businesses.

“I have gotten an overwhelming majority that say they don’t want Savoy to be the type of community fosters this type of business,” said trustee A.J. Ruggieri, who said he also feared an increase in DUI cases of the type he had seen as a onetime Champaign County prosecutor and Urbana police officer.

Ruggieri noted that cannabis will be available, just a mile from Savoy’s northernmost border, at a Champaign medical dispensary that plans to begin recreational sales, once state law allows it next month.

With the prohibition of cannabis businesses, Savoy joins Rantoul and Fisher as Champaign County communities that have said “no” to the potential tax revenue that such businesses could provide.

But trustee Jan Niccum said he doubted that such revenues would be as big as advertised.

Citing city projections reported by the News-Gazette of $625,000 to $955,000 in additional annual revenue for Champaign and $275,000 to $550,000 for Urbana, Niccum said, “I would challenge either one of those communities to tell you where they got those numbers. Because I think they’re just guesses.”

Savoy trustees had previously approved a 3% sales tax on cannabis, in case they decided to allow cannabis dispensaries in the village.