MPC and its partners break-through 13 years of logjam to allow counties and municipalities to plan together to protect water quality and prevent flooding
Ever since the Mississippi River's torrential flooding
in 1992, there has been a need for regional cooperation for
stormwater management in Illinois, particularly in urbanizing areas of the Metro
East area, and more recently for fast-growing counties in northern
Illinois that were left out of prior legislation.
In fact, a survey undertaken by MPC and Openlands Project, under the
auspices of the Campaign for Sensible Growth, found that northern Illinois
communities beyond the six county were far less likely to have basic water
protection ordinances in place than within the six county area of Cook, DuPage,
Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.
In the December 2004 publication Changing
Course, we recommended the state pass enabling
legislation allowing counties to set up stormwater planning committees that
would work with municipalities to develop and implement a consistent plan for
Such enabling legislation has allowed
the six northeastern Illinois counties to set
up stormwater management committees for over a
rest of the state was
excluded.Stormwater managementis the only planning structure in Illinois in which the actions of
and municipalities must be consistent
adopted regional plans. Local governments have been
in favor of this regional approach because water does not
follow political boundaries, and they have a
seat at the table in developing and implementing the plans.
The action of one’s neighbor will
directly affect one’s own community.
Whether it is preventing flooding or improving water quality, a
cooperative, regional and long-term approach is needed.
Various attempts have been made in the past
to extend the authority to create stormwater management committees, particularly
for the Metro East/St. Louis region that has been repeatedly hit hard by floodingof
But long-standing rivalries had
prevented action from being taken.
Openlands, and the Campaign for Sensible Growth had built relationships with
both sides of the debate on related issues in the past – from the passage of
the Local Planning Technical Assistance Act in 2002, to negotiation on water facility
planning processes led by Openlands, to alliances through MPC with both Metro
East regional leaders and the Ill. Farm Bureau.
After 13 years of debate, it came as a surprise that both
sides of the debate cared deeply about the issue, but needed assistance coming
to terms over the technical language to pass legislation. The Metro East
Regional Stormwater Management District secured the chief sponsor, Ill. Sen.
William Haine (D – 56, Alton ). MPC drafted a new bill, SB 1910
, based on the existing legislation
After much negotiation, all organizations signed off on SB 1910, and
the bill proceeded through the Sentate, House and back for concurrence in the
bill will “allow management and mitigation of the effects of urbanization on
stormwater management” through:
“Consolidating the existing
stormwater management framework into a unified, countywide
Setting minimum standards for
floodplain and stormwater management.
Preparing a countywide plan for
the management of stormwater runoff, including the management of natural and
countywide plan may incorporate watershed plans.”
bill specifically grants authority to members of the Southwestern
Regional Planning Commission (Madison, St. Clair, Monroe
counties), as well as the fast-urbanizing counties on
the Chicago region: Kankakee,
Grundy, LaSalle, DeKalb,
The legislation has been adapted from northeastern Illinois to account for
the much greater agricultural role in these additional counties.
Supporters include Metro Counties Council, Illinois Environmental Council, Illinois Municipal
League and Metro East Stormwater Management District, in addition to MPC,
Openlands Project, and the Campaign for Sensible Growth. In addition, agreements were
reached with the Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Realtors, Homebuilders
Association of Illinois, and the Drainage District Association.
For more information, contact Scott