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Adult Use Cannabis - First Round Application Questions

This information is provided as a courtesy of the
Illinois Department of Agriculture
for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice

 

First Round of Application Questions and Answers

The Department has received numerous questions in response to the Application process.  The Department is responding in this notice to written questions received prior to 5:00 p.m. on January 14, 2020. The Department has summarized related and repetitive questions and will not respond to questions unrelated to the application process or fact-specific hypothetical questions. 

General questions/questions applicable to all applications are first, followed by questions specific to craft growers, then infusers, then transporters, then social equity applicants, and then zoning questions not addressed in the general questions or license-specific sections.

General Questions

  1. I would like information on how to obtain a craft grower, infuser and transporter license. Where do I begin?
    The Department's Adult Use Cannabis webpage is the best starting point:
    https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Plants/Pages/Adult-Use-Cannabis.aspx. It has links to the relevant statutes and rules, as well as copies of the applications and FAQs.
  2. What are the fees to obtain a license?
    Application and license fees are non-refundable. 50% of the application and license fees are waived for Social Equity Applicants and Qualified Social Equity Applicants.
    License Type Application Fee                            License Fee
    Craft Grower $5,000.00 (non-Social Equity Applicants)
    $2,500.00 (Social Equity Applicants)
    $40,000.00 (non-Social Equity Applicants)
    $20,000.00 (Qualified Social Equity Applicants)
    Infuser $5,000.00 (non-Social Equity Applicants)
    $2,500.00 (Social Equity Applicants)
    $5,000.00 (non-Social Equity Applicants)
    $2,500.00 (Qualified Social Equity Applicants)
    Transporter $5,000.00 (non-Social Equity Applicants)
    $2,500.00 (Social Equity Applicants)
    $10,000.00 (non-Social Equity Applicants)
    $5,000.00 (Qualified Social Equity Applicants)
  3. How do I submit an application in person in the Chicago area?
  4. Applicants who desire to submit an application in person in the Chicago area can take their application to the James R. Thompson Center located at 100 W. Randolph Street, Chicago. Specific information about application submission will be provided prior to the start of the application acceptance period.  
  5. Will admitting prior experience or use of cannabis, during its prohibition, disqualify an applicant from obtaining a license?
    No.
  6. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act states that the Department shall issue up to 40 craft grower licenses by July 1, 2020 and up to 40 infuser licenses no later than July 1, 2020. The Department's emergency rules state that applicants that receive at least 75% of available points will be issued a license by the Department. Can you please explain how those provisions of the Act and the rules work together?
    The Department will issue no more than 40 craft grower licenses, and no more than 40 infuser licenses on July 1, 2020. To be considered for a craft grower or infuser license, the applicant must receive a minimum 75% of available points. Of the applicants that receive at least 75% of available points, the 40 top scoring applicants will receive a license.
  7. How does an applicant obtain a license to sell cannabis to retail customers?
    The Department of Agriculture does not regulate that type of license. For questions about dispensaries and selling cannabis to retail customers, please contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR): https://www.idfpr.com/ILCannabis.asp
  8. Will the Department offer workshops for applicants? If so, where and on what dates?
    The Department is partnering with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the UIC John Marshall Law School to offer technical assistance workshops to applicants. The dates and locations of these workshops have yet to be determined. The Adult Use Cannabis page on the Department's website will be updated with more information when it is available.
  9. Does an applicant need a set physical location to apply? Does the applicant need a building already constructed?
    A proposed location is a required component of each application, but the building does not have to be constructed at the time of application.
  10. Can an applicant submit one application for multiple locations?
    No. Each application is for one physical location. 
  11. Can an applicant submit one application for multiple types of licenses (craft grower, infuser, transporter)?
    No. Separate applications must be submitted for each type of license.
  12. Are there formatting requirements for the application and the exhibits? Are there limitations in terms of page size, font, or file type?
    All submitted materials should be readable and in a business appropriate format. Single or double-spaced materials are permitted. Applicants should follow application instructions and exhibit descriptions regarding page limits and file types.
  13. Are tax records the only documentation that can be used to prove Illinois residency?
    No. In lieu of tax records, two of the following may be used:
    1. a signed lease agreement that includes the applicant's name
    2. a property deed that includes the applicant's name
    3. school records
    4. a voter registration card
    5. an Illinois driver's license, an Illinois Identification Card, or an Illinois Person with a Disability Identification Card
    6. a paycheck stub
    7. a utility bill
  14. What exhibits need to be redacted? What is the difference between redacted and anonymous?
    Please follow the application instructions and submit the application and exhibits pursuant to the instructions outlined in the application.

    Anonymous means the person scoring the application must not be able identify the applicant or any of the applicant's principal officers. Parts of the application requiring anonymity should have all identifying personal information (i.e., names, addresses, specific cannabis business establishment names, etc.) removed. In parts of the application requiring anonymity, applicants should substitute identifying information with generic terms such as "the cultivation center," "Principal Officer 1," or similar.

  15. How many bonus points can an applicant obtain? How are bonus points awarded?
    2. Bonus points can be found in the Act and the emergency rules at:
    Craft growers: 410 ILCS 705/30-15(b) and 8 IAC 1300.307(c)
    Infusers: 410 ILCS 705/35-15(b) and 8 IAC 1300.407(c)
    Transporters: 410 ILCS 705/40-15(b) and 8 IAC 1300.520(a)(10)
  16. When must an applicant complete the livescan fingerprint screening? If an applicant completed this process for a dispensary application, is this sufficient? If an applicant completes this for one licensed category, is it sufficient to submit the same for a different application of a different licensed category?
    The Fingerprint Consent Form must be completed and submitted to the livescan vendor prior to application submission, as a copy of the Form must be included with the application. Applicants must submit this form for each license type, regardless of prior or additional applications.
  17. How does an out-of-state applicant or employee complete the livescan fingerprint screening?
  18. If you reside outside of Illinois and are unable to have your fingerprints taken by an Illinois licensed fingerprint vendor, you may have your fingerprints taken by an out-of-state agency or vendor such as a local police department. Once the fingerprints have been taken, you will need to mail them to an Illinois licensed vendor to be scanned. If you intend to have your fingerprints taken by an out-of-state agency or vendor, please follow the steps below:
    1. Identify an Illinois licensed vendor to which you plan to send your fingerprints. Contact the vendor and confirm it will accept your fingerprints from another state. The Illinois licensed vendor must have Card Scan capability to process fingerprints taken by an out-of-state agency or vendor. The Illinois licensed vendor may have further instructions for you.
    2. Identify a local agency or vendor at which your fingerprints can be taken.
    3. When you go to the local agency or vendor to have your fingerprints taken, you will bring the Fingerprint Consent Form in the application. This form must be used for fingerprints taken in Illinois or out-of-state.
    4. Fingerprints must be taken within 30 days of the application being submitted.
    5. You will then mail the FBI Card and Fingerprint Consent Form to the Illinois licensed vendor you identified in step one of this process. The Illinois licensed vendor will scan your fingerprint card and transmit your fingerprint data electronically to the Illinois State Police (ISP). A Transaction Control Number (TCN) will be assigned at that time. The fingerprint vendor will provide you with a receipt including the date your fingerprints were taken and the TCN number. Please submit this receipt and a copy of the Fingerprint Consent Form with your Application. Be sure to fill out every field on the Fingerprint Consent Form, including the TCN in the Facility Information Section.
  19. Are any of the exhibits scored on a binary basis (all or nothing)?
    Yes. The exhibits related to the applicant's status as a Social Equity Applicant, Veteran Controlled or Owned, and Illinois Resident Controlled or Owned, will be scored on a binary basis.
  20. When completing the application and exhibits, can we cross-reference other sections and exhibits?
    No. When completing the application, applicants should not cross-reference sections and exhibits. Each section and exhibit should "stand alone" and contain all information the applicant desires to submit. 
  21. Does the Department have a list of approved laboratories?
    A list of approved laboratories will be posted on the Department's website when available.
  22. What licensees are permitted to share facilities with other licensees?
    A craft grower may share its premises with a processing organization, a dispensing organization, or both. [410 ILCS 705/1-10]
    An infuser may share its premises with a craft grower, or dispensing organization, or both. [410 ILCS 705/35-25(1)]
    A dispensary may share its premises with a craft grower, infuser, or both. [410 ILCS 705/15-100(e)]
  23. Will licenses be distributed by region or district like dispensaries?
    Licenses will be distributed on a state-wide basis and will not be distributed by region or district.
  24. Who in the applicant's organization needs to complete the livescan form? Must they complete even if they are not technically employed by the applicant? Is there a fee for the livescan screening?
    All principal officers, board members, and agents. There is a fee for the livescan screening; fees vary by vendor.
  25. Must applicants who are a publicly traded corporation provide the identity of all stockholders and directors who own more than 5% of the corporation?
    Yes. Applicants who are a publicly traded corporation must provide the identity of all stockholders and directors who own more than 5% of the corporation.
  26. Will submitting more than one application increase an applicant's chances of receiving an application?
    Applicants are encouraged to submit the most complete and competitive application possible. Each application will be graded independently, and the Department will only award an applicant the number of licenses that the applicant is permitted to hold under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
  27. Will DCEO change the boundaries of the disproportionately impacted areas before the applications are scored?
          Questions regarding the map of disproportionately impacted areas should be directed to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/Pages/ContactUs.aspx
  28.  

  29. What documents will the Department accept to evidence disclosure of all sources of funding?
    The Department will accept any and all documents that evidence the disclosure of all sources of funding. Such documents may include but are not limited to: bank statements; organization charts; letters of intent; proof of funds; operating agreements; and DCEO business loan documents.
  30. Do applicants need to submit an operating agreement?
    Yes.
    Craft growers: emergency rules, 8 IAC 1300.305(a)(3).
    Infusers: emergency rules, 8 IAC 1300.405(a)(3).
    Transporters: emergency rules, 8 IAC 1300.510(d)(6).
  31.  

  32. What requirements exist for a security company contacting with a licensee? Can the security company be an out of state company? Must the security agreement have a labor peace agreement with its employees?
    Applicants are required to submit a security plan, which is part of the scoring criteria. The Act and emergency rules do not contain requirements of security companies.
  33. What are the liquid asset requirements for each licensed category?
    Craft growers and infusers must demonstrate $20,000.00 in liquid assets. Transporters do no have a liquid asset requirement.
  34. Is an applicant bound by the information and plans submitted in the application if a license is awarded?
    Licenses are awarded based on the information in the application. Licensees are required to notify the Department of any material change.
  35. Is preference given to, or additional points awarded to, applicants whose facilities are located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas?
    Points will be awarded to "social equity applicants."  The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act defines a "social equity applicant" as an applicant that is an Illinois resident that meets one of the following criteria:
      1. an applicant with at least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who have resided for at least 5 of the preceding 10 years in a Disproportionately Impacted Area; 
      2. an applicant with at least 51% ownership and control by one or more individuals who: 
        1. have been arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is eligible for expungement under this Act; or 
        2. is a member of an impacted family;
      3. for applicants with a minimum of 10 full-time employees, an applicant with at least 51% of current employees who:
        1. currently reside in a Disproportionately Impacted Area; or
        2. have been arrested for, convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent for any offense that is eligible for expungement under this Act or member of an impacted family.

      Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preempt or limit the duties of any employer under the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act. Nothing in this Act shall permit an employer to require an employee to disclose sealed or expunged offenses, unless otherwise required by law.

      Additional points will not be awarded based solely on the location of the applicant's facility.

    • Is there a license requirement to engage in cannabis digital marketing? 
      No. The Act and the Department's emergency rules do not address a licensing requirement for digital marketing.
    • Does an applicant need to submit floor plans, specifications, or drawings depicting the applicant's existing or proposed building and facilities?
      Certain parts of the Department's emergency rules require craft grower and infuser applicants to submit floor plans or similar documents. Those applicants are encouraged to be familiar with 8 IAC 1300.300(c)(3), (12), (13), (29), 8 IAC 1300.400(d)(12), and 8 IAC 1300.450(b), as applicable. Additionally, Exhibit A of both applications for requires that the applicant demonstrate the suitability of the proposed facility.
    • What does an applicant need to do to submit a security plan approved by ISP as required for craft growers (1300.300(3)(6)) and infusers (8 IAC 1300.400(d)(6))?
      Applicants for craft grower and infuser licenses only need to submit a security plan at the time of application. If awarded a license, the applicant's security plan will be reviewed and must be approved by ISP
    •  

      Craft Grower Questions

      1.  How many licenses may an applicant (individual or entity) obtain?

      One.

       

      2.      When are craft grower license applications available and when will they be accepted by the Department?

      Applications are currently on the Department's website. The Department will begin accepting applications on February 14, 2020. The deadline for accepting applications is March 16, 2020.

       

      3.      What location restrictions apply to craft growers?

      Applicants should comply with any location restrictions in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and the Department's emergency rules, as well as any applicable zoning ordinances.

       

      4.      Do craft growers need to file a bond with the Department?

      No.

       

      5.      Exhibit B mentions a handbook. Is the handbook considered in the scoring of the craft grower application? 

      The Act and the Department's emergency rules set forth the point values to be used in scoring applications. The Department will not be providing a public description of the specific scoring system for applications at this time. Applicants are encouraged to complete all relevant sections of the application and submit the most competitive application possible.

       

      6.      For Exhibit O, is it sufficient for an applicant to have applied for zoning approval, or must approval be obtained? When is the latest that an applicant may receive final zoning approval?
            Exhibit O has multiple options for zoning authorities to select. Applicants must provide a copy of any applicable zoning regulations and the zoning authority must select whether the Applicant has received zoning approval, submitted an application for zoning approval, or no zoning regulations currently apply, as required by Exhibit O. The Exhibit must be completed and submitted with the application.
             

      7.      For Exhibit P, must all owners and beneficial interests be disclosed, or only those who would qualify as a "principal officer" (i.e. those with an interest > 1% ownership interest in a privately-owned company, or > 5% interest in a publicly traded company)?
      All ownership and beneficial interests must be disclosed. For publicly traded companies, all interests more than 5% must be disclosed.  

       8.      If a craft grower wants to grow cannabis, extract cannabis concentrate and product cannabis-infused products, must an infusion plan be included in the cultivation plan as part of the application?
            A craft grower may process cannabis concentrates and cannabis infused products. [410 ILCS 705/30-30(p)].  A craft grower applicant that intends to conduct such activities should describe them in their operations plan.

       9.      Are there any restrictions on an individual or entity that is awarded a craft grower license applying for an adult-use cultivation center license in the future?
      The Act provides, at 410 ILCS 705/30-20(b), that: A person who is licensed in this State as a craft grower, or any partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or trust or any subsidiary, affiliate, or agent thereof, or any other form of business enterprise licensed in this State as a craft grower shall not have more than 10% legal, equitable, or beneficial interest, directly or indirectly, in a person licensed as a cultivation center, nor shall any partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or trust or any subsidiary, affiliate, or any other form of business enterprise having any legal, equitable, or beneficial interest, directly or indirectly, in a person licensed in this State as a craft grower or a craft grower agent be a principal officer, agent, employee, or human being with any form of ownership or control over a cultivation center except for a person who owns no more than 5% of the outstanding shares of a cultivation center whose shares are publicly traded on an exchange within the meaning of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

       10.  If applying for a craft grower license and a transporter license, must the applicant obtain additional zoning approval?

      Zoning approval is required in both applications. The Department cannot speak to the specifics of a local zoning authority's requirements.  

       

      11.  Are there any events that would justify an extension in the amount of time a licensee has to start growing cannabis?

      The Department cannot address specific hypotheticals at this time. The Department is committed to working with licensees in a fair and reasonable manner to ensure that the adult-use cannabis program is successful.

       

      12.  Can a craft grower use a modular unit as grow space or for extraction of cannabis concentrate?

      All applicants must demonstrate that the facility is suitable for the effective and safe production of cannabis and cannabis infused products.

       

      13.  If applying for a craft grower license and a transporter license, must the applicant obtain additional zoning approval?

      The Department cannot answer questions related to the zoning approval process of a local government. Please direct this type of question to the local government that administers the zoning requirements.

       

      Infusers

      1. For exhibit A, the Department asks for an "Operations and Practices Management Plan." The definition for an Operation and Practices Management Plan seems to apply mainly to craft growers. How should an infuser complete exhibit A?
        Applicants are encouraged to submit the most complete response possible in each Exhibit. Infuser applicants should submit the parts of the Operations and Practices Management Plan definition that apply to an infuser license.
      2. For exhibit O, is it sufficient for an applicant to have applied for zoning approval, or must approval be obtained? When is the latest that an applicant may receive final zoning approval?
        Exhibit O has multiple options for zoning authorities to select. Applicants must provide a copy of any applicable zoning regulations and the zoning authority must select whether the Applicant has received zoning approval, submitted an application for zoning approval, or no zoning regulations currently apply, as required by Exhibit O. The Exhibit must be completed and submitted with the application.        
           
      3. For exhibit P, must all owners and beneficial interests be disclosed, or only those who would qualify as a "principal officer" (i.e. those with an interest > 1% ownership interest in a privately-owned company, or > 5% interest in a publicly traded company)?
                 All ownership and beneficial interests must be disclosed. For publicly traded companies, all interests more than 5% must be disclosed. 
                  
      4. If an applicant wants to do licensed edible infusion in conjunction with a dispensary, will the failure to include a concentrate processing or production plan cost the applicant points in exhibit A?
        Only cultivators, craft growers, and infusers are authorized to conduct infusion activities.  Applicants should describe any intended infusion activity plans in their operations and management plan.
         
      5. What tasks are an infuser permitted to perform? Can an infuser purchase cannabis concentrate from a cultivation center and create a purified distillate and sell the purified distillate to cultivation centers?
        Please see the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act for the definition of infuser, as well as the infuser organization requirements and prohibitions. Under the Act, an infuser license does not authorize the licensee to extract cannabis concentrate from cannabis flower.
         
      6. Can an infuser do anything that a craft grower can't do?
        No.
              
      7. Can an infuser produce topical cannabis products?
        Yes. Topical cannabis products are a "cannabis-infused" product.

         

      Transporters

      1. Under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, can a transporter deliver cannabis or cannabis-infused products to retail customers?

      No. Transporters are not permitted to deliver cannabis or cannabis-infused products to retail customers. A transporter may not transport cannabis or cannabis-infused products to any person other than a cultivation center, a craft grower, an infuser, a dispensing organization, a testing facility, or as otherwise authorized by rule. [8 IAC 1300.500(c)].

       

      2. What requirements exist for a transporter vehicle?
      Please review the emergency rules related to transporters and Article 40 of the Act.

                 

      3. How many transporter licenses will be issued? How will the Department grade applications? Why does the Act say that applicants that receive at least 85% of available points will receive a license, while the emergency rules reference 75%?
      There is no limit on the number of transporter license to be issued in the Act or the Department's emergency rules.   
      The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act as originally enacted in P.A. 101-27 (effective June 25, 2019) was amended by  P.A. 101-593 (effective December 4, 2019) to reduce the minimum scoring requirement for transporter licensesd to 75% of available points.

       

      4. What restrictions exist for the location of the transporter business? For example, can a transporter be located at a residential property or must it be located at a commercial or industrial property?

      All proposed facilities must comply with any restrictions in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and the Department's emergency rules. The Department is unable to provide guidance on how other state laws, local ordinances, homeowner association requirements, and zoning requirements impact a transporter's business location.

                             

      5. Is there a restriction on the number of vehicles that a transporter can employ?
      No.

       

      6. In the Department's emergency rules, 8 Ill Adm. Code 1300.510(d)(6), it references an "Operations and Management Practices Plan." However, the definition of an "Operations and Management Practices Plan" appears to be inapplicable to a transporter.
      Information required by 8 IAC 1300.510(d)(6) is submitted in Exhibits A and C of the application.

       

      Social Equity Applicants

      Department Note: The Department previously created a Social Equity Applicant specific FAQ. Answers to questions already covered in that FAQ will direct applicants to that FAQ.  

      Error notice: The Department's emergency rules and the applications contain an error related to the qualifications of Social Equity Applicants. Language that describes the qualifications as a social equity applicant and states the threshold is"more than 51%" is incorrect. In every instance where the phrase "more than 51%" appears, it should be replaced with "51% or more," matching the definition of Social Equity Applicant found in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act and the Department's emergency rules.

       

      1. What is the definition of a "Social Equity Applicant" and what information is required to apply as one?
      Please see the Department's FAQ on this specific topic: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Plants/Pages/Social-Equity-Applicant-FAQ.aspx 
             

      2. What is the value of applying as a "Social Equity Applicant?"
      Social equity applicants are eligible for reduced fees and additional points in the application and licensing process and may be eligible for business development loans from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

       

      3. Does an offense committed in a different state count towards the criteria to meet the definition of a "Social Equity Applicant" under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act?
      Please see the Department's FAQ on this specific topic: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Plants/Pages/Social-Equity-Applicant-FAQ.aspx 
             

      4. What documentation is sufficient to show that an individual is an eligible impacted family member of a parent, sibling or dependent that was arrested for a qualifying offense? What if that person has a different last name? What if their name has changed after being issued a birth certificate?
      Applicants should submit records that can be verified by application scorers such as, but not limited to, government or court records. Examples of records could include, but are not limited to, income tax forms, court records, insurance forms, bank statements, pension payments, records from public assistance agencies, school records, and birth certificates. In the event of a name change, applicants should provide the court records or other government documents documenting that name change.
             

      5. How does the Department calculate the time spent residing in a disproportionately impacted area? Is it sufficient to show, for example, that the applicant resided in the relevant geographic area from 2015 – 2020, or does the applicant need to demonstrate, that it resided in the relevant geographic area for 60 months?
      Applicants must show that they lived in a Disproportionately Impacted Area for 60 months. The 60 months do not need to be consecutive. 
             

      6. What does an applicant need to show to qualify as a Social Equity Applicant based on the status of the applicant's employees?

      Please see the Department's FAQ on this specific topic: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Plants/Pages/Social-Equity-Applicant-FAQ.aspx

       

      7. What documents may be submitted a proof of Illinois residency?

      Tax records or two of the following:

      1. a signed lease agreement that includes the applicant's name
      2. a property deed that includes the applicant's name
      3. school records
      4. a voter registration card
      5. an Illinois driver's license, an Illinois Identification Card, or an Illinois Person with a Disability Identification Card
      6. a paycheck stub
      7. a utility bill

       

      8. Do Social Equity Applicants have to meet the full liquid asset requirement for each licensed category?

      Yes.

       

      9. Do Social Equity Applicants get additional time to find a business location?

      No.

       

      Zoning Questions

      1. If an applicant's property is located in a municipality that has passed an ordinance allowing for the licensed activity as a "special use" but the applicant cannot apply for the special use permit until it first obtains a license from the Department, how does the applicant qualify as being in compliance with local zoning? Is attaching the ordinance sufficient?
        Craft Grower and Infuser applicants are required to submit a copy of the current local zoning ordinance and verification that the proposed facility is in compliance with the local zoning rules with their application. Applicants are encouraged to submit the most complete application possible.

           

      2. If a municipality passes an ordinance permitting the licensed activity, an applicant obtains a license selecting a business location in said municipality, and the municipality later rescinds the ordinance permitting the licensed activity, will the Department permit the licensee to secure another location?
      The Department cannot answer specific hypotheticals. Applicants must meet zoning requirements at the time of application and license issue.
             

      3. Must an applicant apply for special use approval prior to applying for a license with the Department? What box should under the section "To be completed by Zoning Authority or Local Government" should be checked?
        Applicants are required to submit a copy of the current local zoning ordinance or permit and verification that the proposed craft grower is in compliance with the local zoning rules and distance limitations established by the local jurisdiction. The Zoning Exhibit must be completed. The zoning authority must determine on its own which checkbox is most applicable.