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posted: 2/17/2013 8:00 AM

Arlington Heights board to hear housing plan

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After nearly a year of research and analysis, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning will on Monday present its final plan and recommendations for what housing in Arlington Heights should look like in the future.

The report, "Homes for a Changing Region," focuses on Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows and Palatine and was compiled in collaboration with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and Metropolitan Planning Council.

The Arlington Heights Village Board will be the first of the five member suburbs of the Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative to hear the recommendations since the final report was released last month.

According to the report, the population in Arlington Heights has remained stable over the past decade at 75,000, but it could increase to more than 86,000 by 2040, which would require more than 4,400 new housing units.

The majority of housing units, 57 percent, in Arlington Heights are single-family homes, while multifamily units make up 35 percent of the housing stock, according to the report.

"Arlington Heights has done a great job of planning for the future and thinking about how to accommodate growth," said Jonathan Burch, associate planner with CMAP.

The report frequently mentions a need for more "affordable housing," which Birch said is relative to income levels.

"If you're paying more than 30 percent of your income toward housing needs, then you are in an unaffordable situation and we need to look at that," he said.

According to the report, 32 percent of people in Arlington Heights were "cost-burdened" or in unaffordable housing situations, up from 21 percent in 2000. This increase is consistent with national trends due to the recession. However, the report shows that senior renters in Arlington Heights are likely to be disproportionately cost-burdened, showing a possible need for more affordable housing for seniors in future.

The report also encourages Arlington Heights to work with other villages to track and map foreclosure data to try to find out where problems are and predict future issues. It also explains that the village has a number of aging multifamily properties that will need to be maintained or rehabilitated to stay useful in the future.

"The report is final, but what municipalities do with the report from here is up to them," Burch said. "They could adopt it as part of their master plan, or it could just be advisory and something to consider as they work on planning and development in the future."

The group will present their findings in the other member suburbs later this spring. So far, officials said the feedback to the report has been positive.

"We think just having the information is so helpful for these municipalities," said Drew Williams-Clark, senior planner with CMAP.

Read the full report at cmap.illinois.gov/homes.

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