County set to review 2030 Plan

WOODSTOCK – The Mc­Henry County Board soon will begin the final review process of the 2030 Land Use Plan.

The board’s Planning and Development Committee is planning several 3-hour meetings next week to review the plan’s eight sections and its land-use maps, Chairwoman Tina Hill, R-Woodstock, said.

Hill said the committee’s first priority will be any major issues that members have with the plan and said they likely would hold off addressing minor changes until the plan goes back out for public review.

“We would have a lot more work to do after it goes out on the road,” Hill said.

The plan, if approved by the County Board, will act as a nonbinding guide to balance the county’s development with environmental sustainability. If approved, the plan would replace the county’s 2010 Plan, which is 16 years old.

Charles Eldredge, chairman of the Regional Planning Commission that has spent three years on the 2030 Plan, officially presented it to the County Board at its Tuesday meeting. The commission last week voted, 11-1, to approve it.

Eldredge, joined by commission Vice Chairman Dennis Dreher and county Planning and Development Director Dennis Sandquist, said the plan is balanced and promotes development near municipalities with the infrastructure to accommodate it.

“I do think this is their best compromise plan, and the best plan to work forward with,” Sandquist told the board.

Compromise will be key to avoid the fate of the last attempt to draft an updated land-use plan.

A previous commission spent seven years developing a conservation-minded 2020 Plan, but opponents said the plan disregarded property rights, and the County Board directed staff members to create a new version that allowed for more development. Supporters of the original plan said the new version encouraged sprawl, and the County Board rejected both versions after a five-hour March 2006 meeting.

Environmental concerns have arisen over the present plan as well from groups who consider the plan too friendly to development at the cost of sustainability. Environmental Defenders of McHenry County member Kim Willis asked the board Tuesday to improve the plan’s protections or at least not to diminish them any further.

“The plan in its current form represents an honest attempt at balance, but it starts from an attempt to support the status quo and past growth,” Willis said.

The sole opposing vote from the commission came from member Ronald Bauman, who opposed conversion of agricultural land for non-agriculture use, Sandquist said.

Hill said county staff, which was involved with the plan’s development, will make changes requested of it by the planning committee. The plan would then go to a number of public review sessions countywide, likely next month.

The final version of the plan could go before the County Board in late January.

On the Net

To view the proposed 2030 Land Use Plan approved by the Regional Planning Commission, visit www.mchenrycounty2030plan.com.

To review the concerns that some environmental groups have with the plan, visit www.mchenrycountygreenalliance.blogspot.com.

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