by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Residents had an opportunity to provide feedback on Elburn’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan during a public hearing on Monday.
The Village Board will vote on the plan, which describes Elburn’s vision for the next 20 years, at its March 18 meeting. During the same meeting, the board is also scheduled to vote on the annexation agreement for ShoDeen’s Elburn Station development. Should the board approve the Elburn Station development, those plans will be incorporated into this existing plan for the village.
Carrie Hansen, Images Inc. director of planning and government relations, said that over the past year, she and her co-workers met with various village stakeholders, including seniors, members of the business community, community service providers, high school students and the general public, to obtain input on their preferences for the future of Elburn.
The plan is to be used by the village as a guide for future development for the next 20 years, Hansen said. However, she said it is not meant to be a static recommendation, and it is also meant to be flexible.
“It is a dynamic document,” she said.
Hansen began the public hearing with a summary of the plan. She highlighted people’s focus on Elburn’s strong sense of community character, which she said is a “big, big thing.”
“It’s why people live here, stay here and come back here,” she said.
She also said that agriculture is a huge part of Elburn’s history, and that there is a strong commitment to maintaining at least a portion of the land for agriculture, even as the village grows.
The board members gave their comments on the plan first.
Trustee Ken Anderson expressed his concern about designating areas in the outer reaches of the planning area, such as the intersection of Main Street Road and Route 47, for commercial development. He said that given the village’s priority for infilling land closer in to the center of town, he was concerned that it might create speculation among developers and a value to the area that it doesn’t have.
Hansen said that the three phases of development are clearly defined, beginning with the initial infill and redevelopment, then primary expansion and, finally, long-term potential growth. She said that the outer stretches of the planning area (a mile and a half out from the corporate boundaries) are clearly marked for long-term growth.
Anderson said that the original plan called for 22,000 residents, and he wanted to know how many this plan calls for. Hansen said there are many variables that could impact that number, including whether the Elburn Station is approved, as well as varying potential densities for the areas slotted for residential development. Hansen said she would work up an estimate.
Village President Dave Anderson said he wanted to show that public parking in the downtown area is a clear priority, with buildings facing the street and parking available on the back side.
Anderson also mentioned that the Union Pacific has plans for a third rail that will run all the way to Omaha, Neb., adding significantly more train traffic through the downtown area.
Several residents had comments on the plan, including Alan Herra, who said he would like to see additional large parks available for children and their sports, similar to the Lions Club Park. He said that, although there is a lot of Kane County Forest Preserve space, it is mostly reserved for passive uses, such as hiking.
Hansen said she thought that the Forest Preserve District might be open to discussions regarding the future use of its land, and noted that the plan calls for between 6.5 and 10.5 acres of open space for every 1,000 acres.
“You really have a significant amount of high quality natural resources,” Hansen said. “There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in this area.”
Anderson said that if individuals have additional concerns about the plan, they should contact Hansen or Doug Elder, the consultant filling in for Village Administrator Erin Willrett.
The plan is available for viewing on the village’s website, www.elburn.il.us.