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posted: 5/22/2014 5:30 AM

4 Fox Valley towns get vision on housing, other needs

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Four Fox Valley communities have a better idea about the housing and other features they'll need in about 30 years, a Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning report shows.

In 2012, Carpentersville, Elgin, East Dundee and West Dundee linked up to secure an $80,000 planning grant from the agency, which partnered with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus and the Metropolitan Planning Council.

CMAP used data as well as input from more than 400 residents and public officials to create a plan. In May, a final plan was presented to village boards in East Dundee, West Dundee and Carpentersville and Elgin's planning and zoning commission.

It identifies areas in which growth is expected to occur and how housing trends across the nation, region and in their communities will determine supply and demand.

The plan will be available for public view on CMAP's website next week. Here are the main recommendations:


There was a heavy focus on restoring and managing the quality of existing units and regulating existing rental properties, said Jonathan Burch, a senior planner with CMAP.

The report also spoke of a need to offer housing that can accommodate extra people, such as an elderly relative or a child who just finished college and needs to move back home. Village President Ed Ritter said Carpentersville doesn't have a lot of housing like that, but the plan provides an idea of what needs to be done.

"It gives us tools to evaluate proposals when they come in to see if the proposals fit our needs," Ritter said. "We're are planning on taking the information we received and looking at how we can use it to our advantage to our planning and zoning process."

East Dundee

The village, already in the middle of a downtown renaissance, should also consider adding more parking and housing options, while creating a program to restore buildings for additional housing.

Village President Lael Miller said officials are looking at the possibilities of offering downtown housing with retail on the ground floor, with residential quarters upstairs. Additional housing options could be realized on the east side of town, if the right project comes along, Miller said.

Other options are fitting smaller units into the downtown and an 80-unit building by Summit School on Route 72.

There are about 500 empty acres in town and Miller estimates that will be developed as commercial, not residential, property.

He disagrees with the study's estimation that 6,000 people will live in the village by 2040, and doesn't see a need for additional housing beyond what's already being done. Today, nearly 3,000 people call East Dundee home.

"I don't anticipate the type of growth that they're looking at," Miller said. "There's no land for that."


The "City in the Suburbs" should remember its seniors when it comes to future housing needs, Burch said.

The city has been on top of this for some time and Mayor Dave Kaptain say it's one of his priorities.

He has taken it a step further by attracting affordable rental housing for seniors, rather than large-scale developments for active older adults.

"It's really been a focus of mine to provide for that need," Kaptain said.

Earlier this year, for example, the city approved $20 million in upgrades to the Elgin Housing Authority building, which was built in 1968 and contains 150 rental units for seniors.

The project, financed by the federal government, will also add about a dozen more apartments to the building.

West Dundee

Recommendations focused on offering multifamily developments and additional parking, improving bike and pedestrian access and working with Carpentersville officials to explore Spring Hill Mall's future. That partnership is already in progress, according to Ritter and West Dundee Village President Chris Nelson.

CMAP will assist each community with implementation for the next two years, Burch said.

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