State your case: Ill. Growth Panel wants input - Metropolitan Planning Council

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State your case: Ill. Growth Panel wants input

The Illinois Growth Task Force soon will make recommendations to the General Assembly for new programs and procedures to promote balanced growth.

Over the past year, the Illinois Growth Task Force has been meeting throughout the state to develop a package of recommendations to address the concerns expressed by the Campaign for Sensible Growth and other organizations and coalitions regarding growth and development policies in Illinois.

It is expected that the Growth Task Force will make recommendations in time for action during the Spring legislative session that started January 2001.  Top issues of concern include incentives for local communities to improve local planning efforts, coordination among local governments, techniques for farmland and natural resource preservation and tools for local economic development.

Senator John Maitland, Bloomington, is chairing the Illiois Growth Task Force.  Additional legislative members include Senators Debbie Halvorson, Chicago Heights; Lisa Madigan, Chicago; William Peterson, Prairie View; Steven Rauschenberger, Elgin; Patrick Welch, LaSalle; and Representatives Lauren Beth Gash, Deerfield; Patricia Lindner, Sugar Grove; Andrea Moore, Libertyville; Doug Scott, Rockford; Ricca Slone, Peoria; and David Winters, Rockford.

Three Steering Commitee members of the Campaign for Sensible GrowthMarySue Barrett, President of the Metropolitan Planning Council, Joyce O'Keefe, Associate Director of Openlands Project and Ronald Thomas, Executive Director of the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commissionare serving as public members on the Growth Task Force.

The Growth Task Force early on adopted the following mission statement (October 21, 1999):

  • To begin a public discussion in Illinois leading to a set land use, housing, and transportation goals;
  • To promote balanced land use, housing and transportation policies;
  • To encourage orderly development the preserves farmland and natural areas, and increases housing options and transportation alternatives; and
  • To propose possible legislation to reach these goals.

Over the summer, the Growth Task Force held public hearings in Des Plaines, Bloomington and Collinsville in which hundreds of citizens and organizations provided testimony.  It was clear from the testimony that concerns regarding growth and development resonate in all corners of the state.

Three working groups—State Policies, chaired by MarySue Barrett; Land Use and Transportation, chaired by George Ranney of Chicago Metropolis 2020; and Farmland Protection and Natural Resources, chaired by Ann Hughes of the Illinois Farm Bureau—met frequently over the summer and prepared written reports to the entire Task Force.

At the conclusion of  the Illinois Growth Task Force's November hearing, Chairman John Maitland invited input by January 1, 2001 on which recommendations might be prioritized for action in the Spring legislative session.  We were all saddened to learn of Sen. Maitland’s recent ill health, but it is with optimism for his full recovery that we urge you submit correspondence to both Sen. Maitland and to Gov. Ryan indicating your support for near-term actions. 

Correspondence to Senator Maitland should be directed to:
Amy Bunselmeyer
Senate Republican Executive Committee
Capitol Building
Springfield Illinois 62706

Correspondence to Governor Ryan should be directed to:
Governor George H. Ryan
207 Statehouse
Springfield, IL 62706

For reference in your letter, please refer to the following near term priorities of the three working groups:

Illinois Growth Task Force: Extend charge of the task force into 2001

  • Bipartisan task force needed to build support, expand public involvement, shape priorities

Comprehensive Local Planning

  • Amend portions of the state’s 1920s Planning Act, 1984 Local Land Resource Management Planning Act.
  • Define elements of a modern local comprehensive plan (e.g. technology)
  • Provide incentives for voluntary community participation.

Technical Assistance to Local Governments

  • Provide assistance for preparation, implementation of comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, natural resources mapping, model developments, sensible growth land use.
  • Create $6 million statewide fund for innovative planning by counties and municipalities. (Builds on DCCA’s Balanced Growth Capacity Building Program.)

Local Legacy (Environmental) Program

  • Provide incentives to counties to inventory ecological, agricultural, scenic, historic resources, develop resource protection plans and implement them.
  • Support land acquisition and purchase of development rights (see below) in counties with comprehensive resources protection plan.

Purchase of Agriculture Conservation Easements (PACE)

  • Amend existing statutes to allow counties, other local governments to adopt PACE programs by compensating landowners for voluntary conservation easements 

Office of Planning Assistance

  • Create state Office of Planning Assistance to coordinate state-level decisions and actions, develop state resources management plan, enhance coordination by state agencies, provide leadership. (Builds on Balanced Growth Cabinet.)

Intergovernmental Planning

  • Authorize creation of intergovernment cooperation councils, with membership from a county and municipalities, to allow each metropolitan county to coordinate managing, mitigating effects of urbanization with greater than local impact

State Investment

  • Shape a state investment program to implement voluntary initiatives based on balanced growth criteria, including but not limited to: redevelopment and infill; “live near work,” and transit-oriented development projects.

Facility Planning Areas Process Revision

  • Revise FPA process to assure development support by sewer extensions is consistent with local, regional plans and does not contribute to violation of water quality standards, anti-degradation requirements

For more information contact: Ellen Shubart, Campaign Manager, Campaign for Sensible Growth, 312-922-5616, ext. 132.  Copies of the three working groups can be found on the Campaign for Sensible Growth web site,

To become involved in legislative advocacy of the Campaign for Sensible Growth, please e-mail

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