How Elmhurst wants to improve 5 business zones
Elmhurst planners, consultants and residents have been collaborating for the past year to brainstorm ideas for improving five business zones in town.
Now draft plans for the intersections and corridors -- identified as "subareas" -- are ready for public input during an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at city hall, 209 N. York St.
Assistant Planning and Zoning Administrator Eileen Franz said consultants from Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago will display the draft plans and seek comments on their recommendations for infrastructure, land use, transportation, character and sense of place at each of the five locations.
The study areas selected by the city council last spring include the business district at York and Vallette streets; the Lake Street corridor between Route 83 and York Street; a one-block area at First and York streets downtown; several blocks of Butterfield Road west of York Street; and the intersection of North Avenue and Route 83.
The city is paying Houseal Lavigne $74,500 to create plans for the areas, which last were studied when the city created its comprehensive plan in 2009.
So far during the planning process, the firm has hosted a visioning workshop and given residents the opportunity to create online maps highlighting their ideas for the areas.
Franz said the consultants got some helpful input during the workshop, which took place last August, and 14 people have shared their thoughts through online maps. The maps point out spots where residents see undesirable uses, public safety concerns, problematic intersections, missing trail or sidewalk connections, and priority sites for development or community assets to be maintained.
Original estimates said the planning process would take six months. Twelve months into the work, officials say they expect it to wrap up sometime this year.
After consultants gather input on the draft plans Wednesday, Franz said they plan to tweak the documents, then bring them forward for official review. The zoning and planning commission will take the first look, then compile a report for the city council. Franz said assessments of the plans should take a few months.
Once the plans are approved, they will serve to guide improvements and investment within the subareas. Franz said no major developments have started within the five zones since the planning process began last year.