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posted: 6/4/2013 5:17 PM

Carol Stream considers new comprehensive plan

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Carol Stream's zoning code is so old that one of the retail uses allowed is haberdashery.

For the less sophisticated, it's a term for goods sold in a men's clothing store -- a retailer that was more commonly found in previous centuries.

That's just one of the wrinkles a new village comprehensive plan could iron out, according to officials, and why they're asking a regional planning agency for help in developing it.

Carol Stream's existing comprehensive plan has been on the books since 1982. Good planning practices, officials say, dictate that comprehensive plans be prepared every 10 years and be updated at five-year intervals.

When used effectively, such documents can provide a framework for a town's land use and planning goals.

"It gives direction in various areas that can be codified by zoning, sign and building codes," said Bob Glees, the village's director of community development. "With a (new) comprehensive plan, we can go in and update our codes to update the desires of the community and the recommendations of the plan."

Carol Stream has failed to update its plan because of economic conditions that made it difficult to allocate funds for a consultant who could prepare a new one, which could cost anywhere from $100,000 to $120,000, Glees said.

"In terms of things the village needs to budget for, a police officer would take precedence," he said.

And, Glees said, it'd be difficult for village staff members to prepare a comprehensive plan in-house with its already high workload.

The village board approved a resolution this week in support of an application to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning seeking the agency's assistance in preparing a new plan.

Municipalities in the seven-county metropolitan region are eligible for help through the agency's technical assistance program. Carol Stream applied in 2012, but the application wasn't selected.

Glees said village staff members have spoken with CMAP staff about how the application could be strengthened, and this time the village plans to do "a better job of conveying our need from a resource and budget standpoint."

If approved by CMAP, the agency's staff would take the lead in developing a plan with the assistance of village staff. Glees said it's his understanding the plan would be fully funded through CMAP, which received a $4.25 million planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2010.

Glees said the village developed a land use plan in 1999 that is used to guide developers who want to build in town. That plan would be updated as part of the overall comprehensive plan.

The document also could cover the town's housing needs, economic development strategies, environmental initiatives, sustainability goals, transportation issues, pedestrian and bikeway networks and open space.

"There's a very rich and diverse set of issues that can be explored and planned for," Glees said.

The village's application for CMAP assistance is due June 26.

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