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Westchester Zoning Update

Questions or comments? Contact Kristin Ihnchak.

The Village of Westchester, in partnership with CMAP, wishes to create a new zoning ordinance and updated zoning map to guide future redevelopment and help to implement its recently adopted Comprehensive Plan. Westchester is a developed suburban community that consists predominantly of single-family homes, with scattered commercial and industrial development. The Comprehensive Plan, developed with technical assistance from CMAP, sets forth the overarching land use goals of providing a greater range of housing options to foster a diverse population and revitalizing the Village's commercial corridors. These goals are reflected in the Comprehensive Plan's Future Land Use Map, which designates some of the Village's existing single-use commercial areas as areas of potential mixed-use development. The Village is particularly interested in creating a village center at the intersection of Cermak and Mannheim Roads, but currently lacks the proper zoning tools, such as a downtown-specific zoning district, to achieve this vision. The Comprehensive Plan also recommends including design standards in the new ordinance to improve the aesthetics and character of mixed-use areas.

This planning process consists of three main phases. The first phase focuses on kicking off the project, evaluating existing conditions, including an assessment of current ordinances, and conducting initial stakeholder and public engagement. At the end of the first phase, initial recommendations for code changes will be created and vetted with the project's steering committee and Village staff and presented at a public meeting. Second, a comprehensive revision of the zoning ordinance will occur, with an emphasis on making the regulations more user-friendly and facilitating redevelopment. This phase will entail intensive review of the draft regulations by Village staff and the steering committee before rolling out the regulations to the public. Finally, the third phase will present the document for public hearings and approval. The ordinance is expected to be adopted in summer 2017.

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Development Regulations Update for Park Forest

The Village of Park Forest has prioritized livability since its inception as one of the first planned communities in the country.  Park Forest continues to make strides toward maintaining a high quality of life for its residents, redeveloping commercial areas, and employing green practices throughout the community.  To that end, Park Forest, in conjunction with CMAP, created and adopted a Sustainability Plan called Growing Green in 2011.  Now -- in order to better align the Village's zoning and subdivision ordinances with the Sustainability Plan, other recent planning documents, and current land use practices -- Park Forest is updating its development regulations.

With support from CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program, this development regulations update will be built around a community-based process that reflects the interests and needs of both residential and commercial property owners, as well as other community stakeholders. Key themes of this ordinance update will include removing barriers to green practices, promoting sustainable development, and creating favorable conditions for the implementation of the Village's current planning documents.  In particular, regulatory revisions will focus on updating the Village's zoning districts; permitted uses; parking and loading; landscaping and buffering; signage; administrative provisions; and subdivision requirements.

This planning process consists of four main phases.  The first phase focuses on existing conditions, including an assessment of current ordinances, as well as stakeholder and public engagement. During the second phase, initial recommendations for zoning and subdivision code changes will be created and vetted with the project's steering committee and Village staff.  Third, a comprehensive revision of these ordinances will occur with an emphasis on making the regulations more user-friendly both for government and the business community.  Finally, the fourth phase will present the documents for public review and approval. 

Public Engagement

The community had its first opportunity to give feedback at a public workshop held on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 in Park Forest, during which participants were introduced to the project and zoning concepts, and participated in an interactive activity to ascertain the community's preferences about development.

The Park Forest community also had the chance to share their ideas electronically.  Stakeholders who were not able to attend the October public workshop in person could visit an interactive engagement website to participate in an online visual preference survey.  The website was live from Octboer 29 through December 29 2013, and over 300 people visited to share their input about the Village's development regulations update.

The community will also have an opportunity to give feedback on the draft regulations during a public open house, to be held in the winter of 2016. Stay tuned for more details.


Hildy Kingma, Village of Park Forest, Director of Economic Development and Planning (hkingma@vopf.com or 708-283-5622)

Kristin Ihnchak, CMAP Principal Planner (kihnchak@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-676-7462)


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