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Article updated: 7/2/2013 8:26 AM

Round Lake Heights seeks resident input on long-range plan

By Mick Zawislak

Visitors to the Round Lake Heights village festival on July 13 not only will be able to enjoy fun and games, but they can learn about the village's future.

Representatives from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning will be available between noon and 4 p.m. to answer questions and take comments on a draft of what will be the village's first big picture plan in 30 years.

"This is another step in a series of public outreach steps," said Jonathan Burch, project manager for CMAP.

The regional planning agency has been working with local officials, residents, businesses and other stakeholders since May 2012 to craft a revised comprehensive plan for the tight-knit village of about 2,700.

The booth at the festival on the village hall grounds, 619 Pontiac Court, will feature a series of poster boards and copies of the draft plan for review. The appearance will allow planners to ensure that public feedback on issues is addressed in the document based on more than a year of outreach, evaluation and research.

"The more feedback we get from them, the better job it does in reflecting the needs and wants," of residents, Burch added.

Strengths of the village include its small-town feeling and sense of community and access to high-quality parks and open spaces, such as Shagbark Nature Preserve and Fairfield Marsh.

Burch said a common issue that has evolved during the process is a desire for the village to remain fiscally strong despite its size. Options to develop or redevelop areas along Rollins Road, including a commercial node at Fairfield Road, and to attract new business will be addressed in the plan update.

Improving swales and adding curbs, gutters and sidewalks in the older areas of the village is another broad issue that will be addressed in the plan, as is using future annexations and boundary agreements to preserve environmentally critical lands to the northwest.

The comprehensive plan will outline policies and action steps to guide local officials in areas such as land use and development, economic growth, open space programming, infrastructure improvements and image and identity.

CMAP's work in Round Lake Heights is part of its local technical assistance program to help communities throughout the seven-county northeastern Illinois area implement the "GO TO 2040" comprehensive regional plan.

Assistance projects of varying types also have been undertaken in Lake Zurich, the Grayslake area, Lake County government, Waukegan, Wheeling and Lakemoor.

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