Champaign council to review draft of comprehensive plan update

Champaign council to review draft of comprehensive plan update

CHAMPAIGN – City planners this week will present an outline of how they see the city developing during the next 20 years.

The city council will review a draft of the comprehensive plan, a document used to guide long-range decisions that could affect the city in 2030, when it meets on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of Illinois Terminal, 45 E. University Ave.

Planners revise the 20-year plan every five years or so, said Planning Director Bruce Knight, and one of the biggest changes this time around is how they are categorizing land uses.

The planning department's future land use map determines what kind of development goes where, usually separated by residential, commercial and industrial. Each zoning designation has a set of building codes to go along with it, and city ordinance determines how those buildings can be used.

"What we've really been looking at is how we can get a better mix of land uses that provides for a complete neighborhood," Knight said.

That means the future land use map will include zoning designations that are a little more creative with allowable uses. Those zones would be classified as different types of neighborhoods and "community centers, regional centers and employment centers."

The reclassifications will affect how private developers design their properties. Knight said city officials still plan to meet with the city's major developers and other interest groups to get their feedback.

"I think this plan reflects the new reality of how development's going to come back eventually," Knight said.

While the 20-year plan looks well beyond the current state of the economy, Knight said planners have taken the lag into account as they have written the document during the past three years. They expect the real estate market to have changed drastically by the time the economy rebounds.

"Boomers are going to look to downsize and be in a location where they can get more services," Knight said.

Assuming council members give their preliminary approval on Tuesday, Knight said he expects the document to be adopted in January. A public hearing to gather citizen input would be held in advance.

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