State housing activity prompts mayors to develop housing guidelines - Metropolitan Planning Council

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State housing activity prompts mayors to develop housing guidelines

Embracing new statewide housing mandates and opportunities, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus is promoting the use of their user-friendly guidelines to municipal leaders.

Historically, state housing policy has been almost exclusively the responsibility of mayors and volunteer commissioners serving the 1,290 municipalities throughout Illinois. 


In recent years, a number of mayors joined housing advocates and business leaders in advocating for the State to assume more leadership, offering incentives and guidance to local jurisdictions to forward policies that better link housing to job and population growth and transportation networks. 


In 2003, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed an Executive Order articulating the Illinois' first housing policy, and appointed a Task Force, including an intergovernmental committtee, to forward its implementation.  He also signed into law the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act (Public Act 93-0595), which requires counties and municipalities with less than 10 percent affordable housing to adopt a housing plan and encourages them to “incorporate affordable housing within their housing stock sufficient to meet the needs of their county or community.” The law further allows developers to seek relief from local regulations that inhibit the construction of affordable housing. A proposed amendment , supported by MPC, provided technical clean-ups and deadline adjustments.  (That amendnment was signed into law in June.)


Whether or not a town has less than 10 percent affordable housing, there are several compelling reasons to incorporate housing into broader comprehensive plans. Toward that end, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) has worked with MPC and other local partners to develop guidelines for a model housing plan (including numerous tools and even communications strategies) to forward the governor's new housing policy and MMC's own Housing Endorsement Criteria.   These guidelines were developed based on the stipulations of the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeals Act, but can be used as the basis for any community's plan, regardless of whether the town is required to submit a plan under the new law.  MMC has further worked with MPC and the Campaign for Sensible Growth to publish Sensible Tools for Healthy Communities, a companion document for volunteer commissioners interested in implementing sensible growth and housing policies.

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