Wauconda adopts plan to attract new businesses, spur local economy
For the first time, Wauconda officials have created a formal strategy to spur economic development in town.
The plan calls for simplifying zoning and building codes, creating a business listing on the village's website, business alliance programs and other tactics.
The objective isn't just to help existing businesses succeed, but to attract new businesses that will bolster the local economy, Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner said.
"(It's) all really related to growth and maintaining economic vitality in the community," Maxeiner said.
Trustees adopted the four-page plan Tuesday night after months of committee and staff work.
The objectives were unveiled by Trustee John Barbini, who leads the board's development committee and oversaw the project. Barbini called economic development one of the village's top strategic priorities.
"Economic development brings jobs to our community," Barbini told the Daily Herald. "Economic development also brings new revenues to the village, in both sales tax and property tax."
The new plan reflects what officials want to happen in town "in the next three to five years," he said.
The plan sets five targets:
• Strengthen and maintain relationships with the existing business community.
• Promote Wauconda.
• Encourage and facilitate development and redevelopment of vacant and underutilized properties.
• Improve infrastructure.
• Update codes and policies to simplify compliance.
The plan identifies possible "action steps" for each goal.
For example, the document suggests officials can strengthen relationships with business owners by teaming with the chamber of commerce or other groups to create a business seminar program, maintaining a list of properties for sale or rent on the village website and conducting annual business surveys.
The goal of simplifying business-related codes and policies, addresses concerns raised during the spring election when some trustee candidates complained village policies aren't friendly enough toward businesses.
But Barbini said the goal wasn't included as a direct response to those complaints. Officials have been talking about making the codes easier to understand and follow for about three years, he said.
The plan suggests tackling the problem in several ways, including: amending ordinances to reduce potential barriers to development; re-evaluating development-related fees; and using the village website to improve public access to the town's codes, ordinances and related information.
It's up to village employees and administrators to develop specific tasks to accomplish the strategies in the plan, Barbini said. The development committee could review options at its June 9 meeting.