Maine-Northfield Unincorporated Area Plan
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UPDATE: The Draft Existing Conditions Report is now available for download here. The report contains discussion of the study area's key data points and analysis that will lead to plan recommendations.
Throughout Cook County there are several areas of land that are developed but have never been annexed to a municipality. These areas have been studied in the past by the Civic Federation and the Cook County Unincorporated Task Force. However, one cluster of land stands out as especially densely populated and developed, warranting further study into ways to improve quality of life for its diverse group of residents. Having never been the focus of a long-range comprehensive plan, the study area for this project is called "Maine-Northfield," reflecting portions of both unincorporated Maine and Northfield Townships.
The center of Maine-Northfield is approximately 17 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and bordered by Des Plaines, Glenview, Morton Grove, Niles, and Park Ridge. The study area does not include every unincorporated parcel in Maine and Northfield Townships, but does include the most densely populated developments, as well as the locations of infrastructure and regulatory concerns that have prevented large-scale annexation. In general, the study area is made up of three sections: a large, mostly contiguous area stretching from Dempster Street on the south to past Lake Avenue on the north; a separate area north of Golf Road roughly between Harrison Street, Crescent Drive, and Stacy Court, with Washington Street bisecting; and three separate residential areas in close proximity near Milwaukee Avenue, Sanders Road, Lake Avenue, and Landwehr Road.
With support from the CMAP Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program and guidance from a steering committee, Cook County will develop a community plan for the Maine-Northfield study area. The team will evaluate the community's challenges and opportunities and identify viable strategies to help guide future growth and development. The plan will address stormwater, housing, transportation, public services and utilities, and image and identity. In addition, the plan will discuss the area's relationship with neighboring incorporated communities, each of whom are represented on the project steering committee, and will explore through a benefit-cost analysis if annexation of all or portions of the study area is viable for stakeholders.
The three-phase planning process will be completed over approximately 18 months. First, the planning team will analyze existing conditions using information and public input gathered in collaboration with Cook County. Next, the team will develop a vision for the area based on the community's input gathered during a visioning workshop. Finally, CMAP will create recommendations and implementation strategies in a draft plan. Once a draft plan has been prepared, reviewed by the public, and revised, CMAP will assist County staff in working with the Cook County Board to formally adopt the plan.
Public Visioning Workshop
A public visioning workshop was held on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 6:30 - 8 p.m., at Apollo School, 10100 Dee Road, Unincorporated Des Plaines. More than 50 residents and other Maine-Northfield stakeholders attended. Participants provided ideas for a long-term community vision and gave opinions on possible solutions to issues identified earlier in the planning process. The event's introductory presentation, which included a project update from CMAP and a keypad polling activity, is available here.
MetroQuest Online Community Survey
A survey was open to the public between Nov. 15, 2016, and Feb. 15., 2017. The results are being used to create the Existing Conditions Report and will be included in this document. Survey respondents identified more than 600 points of interest on the map related to driving, flooding, housing, pedestrians and bikes, redevelopment opportunities, and transit. Zoom in and click on the icons to see what respondents said, or open the map in a new window.
Get added to the public outreach email list
Public outreach and community engagement will be essential to the creation of the Maine-Northfield Unincorporated Area Plan. Residents and stakeholders will have several opportunities to participate in the process and give feedback. Cook County and CMAP will conduct stakeholder interviews and public meetings to gather input. Stay informed about future meetings by visiting this project page, or send your contact information to John Carlisle (email@example.com) to be placed on the project e-mail list.
Public Kickoff Meetings
The first opportunities for residents to get involved in the planning process were at two public kickoff meetings, the first of which was October 19, 2016, at the Golf Maine Park District's Feldman Recreational Center (8800 Kathy Ln., Niles) and the second of which was November 15, 2016, at the Glenview Park District's Crowley Park Field House (749 Huber Ln., Glenview).
About 80 residents and community leaders attended the two meetings combined. At the meetings, participants learned about the comprehensive planning process and shared their ideas about the strengths and challenges facing the Maine-Northfield unincorporated area. Specifically, they focused on issues related to community identity, flooding and water, housing, and quality of life.
Residents made the following observations related to living in the unincorporated area:
- Most participants identified with the municipality listed on their postal address instead of the township in which they lived.
- There was a mixed response regarding interest in annexation, with those in support of the idea saying it could improve services, while those against it said they feared higher taxes and thought services were already sufficient.
- Community strengths mentioned include safety, a strong mix of housing options, good schools, and adequate services.
The following were cited by multiple participants as major issues in the unincorporated area:
- Residential flooding and the need for additional stormwater retention infrastructure
- Complicated or confusing permit process through Cook County, with a preference to keep it at a local level
- Additional sidewalks, signage and street lights are needed in certain areas
- Disparate access to library services
- Lack of local oversight and enforcement related to size of housing built and property maintenance
- Need for more parks and recreational opportunities, especially in areas with multifamily buildings
- Despite good experiences, Cook County Sheriff's Police response times could be improved
Other issues that emerged during the meetings included community programming in unincorporated areas, airport noise, expanded transportation options such as additional bus routes and bike lanes, and neighborhood identifiers to foster stronger sense of community.
Journal & Topics Newspapers, November 23, 2016: "Maine, Northfield Township Study Launches"
Journal & Topics Newspapers, August 16, 2017: "Vision for Area Townships?"
Chicago Tribune (Park Ridge Herald-Advocate), October 21, 2016: "Plan offers 'vision' for unincorporated Maine, Northfield neighborhoods, group says"
James Wilson, Secretary, Zoning Board of Appeals (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-603-0544)
John Carlisle, CMAP Project Manager (email@example.com or 312-386-8839)