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City of Elgin Ordinance Assessment: An Implementation Step of the Ferson-Otter Creek Watershed Plan

Communities throughout the Chicago region have been regularly updating stormwater regulations to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff. One of the strategies is to require or encourage the use of green infrastructure and other best management practices that can filter, infiltrate, cool, and cleanse stormwater runoff before reaching the receiving body of water. These techniques also reduce the amount of stormwater runoff during major storm events and thereby prevent flooding of private property and reduce channel and bank erosion within the community's waterways. Steps to improve the infiltration of stormwater can also help communities maintain groundwater capacity and maintain lake levels during drought conditions.

In addition to stormwater ordinances, municipalities are also updating local plans and subdivision, zoning, and landscaping ordinances to remove barriers and ensure that development codes reduce natural resource impacts. Municipal plans and ordinances have the ability to guide the location of development and reduce the amount of impervious surfaces associated with new construction. These same local land use policies and regulations can also promote the preservation of natural areas and open spaces by encouraging infill development in areas that are already served by existing infrastructure, as well as by allowing flexible layout options to keep natural areas and features intact.

The Ferson-Otter Creek Watershed Ordinance Assessment is a continuation of efforts to reduce the negative impacts of stormwater runoff, protect natural resources, and improve the quality of life in our region's watersheds. The purpose of this project is to provide suggested ordinance revisions to the City of Elgin. As identified in the 2011 Ferson-Otter Creek Watershed Plan, this project recommends changes to municipal subdivision, zoning, landscaping, and stormwater ordinances in order to ensure that they complement each other and lead to improvements in water quality and overall watershed health. The recommended changes are strongly encouraged and have the potential to provide significant protection and improvement for the Ferson-Otter Creek Watershed as well as the Fox River. 

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