Livability is primarily created at the local level through planning and development decisions made by communities, developers, and individuals. CMAP upholds the long-standing Illinois tradition of local control over zoning and land use decisions. Yet, within that framework exist many opportunities for collaborative planning across jurisdictions in pursuit of common goals.
CMAP supports reinvesting in existing communities, pursuing opportunities for more compact, walkable, and mixed-use development, and providing a range of housing options. Local land use decisions should focus on the interrelationship of transportation, land use, and housing, with an emphasis on development patterns that support the use of public transit. With local authority comes the responsibility to carefully assess broader impacts on neighboring communities and on the region as a whole.
Achieving livability will take proactive planning by local governments that recognize the potential regional impacts of even seemingly small local decisions. One of GO TO 2040's highest priorities is to promote comprehensive planning in communities across our seven counties—including the development of comprehensive plans, consistent ordinances and regulations, and trained decision makers.
GO TO 2040 also recommends supporting local planning through grant programs, infrastructure investments to implement plans, technical assistance, and collaboration between municipalities on shared priorities. CMAP provides a number of resources that help local governments to strengthen each of these.
Local Technical Assistance program
With funding from a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), CMAP launched the Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, which involves providing planning, and in some cases financial, assistance to communities across the Chicago metropolitan region to undertake planning projects that advance the principles of GO TO 2040.
CMAP has initiated over 100 local projects with local governments, nonprofits, and intergovernmental organizations to address local issues at the intersection of transportation, land use, and housing, including the natural environment, economic growth, and community development. Common projects include updating municipal comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances, developing sub-area plans for specific commercial or industrial districts, sustainability plans, and parking management planning.
Local Ordinances and Toolkits program
CMAP's Local Ordinances and Toolkits program develops resources that help municipalities to develop policies that support the goals of GO TO 2040, guiding them through the process from study to approval on a variety of topics such as parking regulation, local food production, and more. Particularly relevant to land use and zoning is a toolkit on form-based codes.
Fiscal Policy and Land Use Planning
Tax policies and economic development incentives also play a role in driving local land use decisions. It is important for the region to have the best information possible about how our fiscal policies drive land use decisions, as well as the resulting impacts on the regional economy, jobs, and principles of livability as addressed in GO TO 2040. CMAP creates reports on these and other policy issues that affect land use.
Land Use Committee
The CMAP Land Use Committee meets on the third Wednesday of every month and is composed of members representing municipal, county, state, and federal government in our region as well as agencies and nonprofit organizations focused on land use issues.