The fifth in the series: The board delves into the thorny details of its future.
For years, neighboring communities have had to
compete with each other to attract the most tax dollars, often at the expense of
local quality of life, economic development, school excellence, personal and
social health, and basic needs like water and sewage. While some competition
among municipalities is healthy, it’s become increasingly clear that any local
victories are fleeting; we’re racing our neighbors to the bottom as long as we
allow our region to fragment and decay. Thankfully, Chicagoland has an historic
opportunity to unite and regain our competitive edge through the development of
a strong Regional Planning Board. The state legislature has given the board just
one year to develop a plan for success. This series, “Make or Break – Year One
of the Regional Planning Board” analyzes the issues the board must tackle in the
The Ingredients of an Effective
Regional Planning Board
The Regional Planning Board
is now approaching the six-month mark of its work. For much of that time, the board
has been busy forming committees, creating committee work plans, and hiring an
executive director. With these foundational structures in place, the
organization will now be able to create the full menu of ingredients it needs to
entice local municipalities and public agencies to participate in regional
By making the most use
of NIPC’s existing land use and natural resources planning capabilities
and CATS’ transportation modeling, the board can ensure that the region gets
the most value out of its infrastructure investments. But simply merging
two organizations will not produce a new entity that makes coordinated
regional planning and capital investment a reality. The Regional Planning Board
must be able to prioritize investments and offer new, meaningful incentives for
regional cooperation of capital planning, while preserving the authority of
local municipalities and public agencies. Specifically, the board will need to
be able to answer the following questions.
Scope and Incentives
One of the many reasons
that municipalities have increasingly supported the integration of transportation
and land use planning through the creation of the Regional Planning Board is
that the number of subjects they must address regionally has expanded. As the metropolitan
region continues to develop, land use patterns and population trends are keeping
local mayors and managers searching for answers to increasingly complex growth
- What subject areas will demand regional cooperation?
incentives can the Regional Planning Board offer to public agencies,
developers and municipalities to make coordinated regional planning and
capital investment a reality?
Delivering incentives, particularly planning expertise,
region to make an investment in the Regional Planning Board commensurate
to what it takes to achieve our vision of a prosperous, inviting place
to live and do business.
- What financial resources are already available to
CATS and NIPC?
other financial sources are available to the Regional Planning Board?
One incentive to local
municipality cooperation is for the Regional Planning Board to incorporate and
expand technical service to local municipalities now provided by NIPC. Many
municipalities, especially those
located in fast growing areas or in areas in need of revitalization, have little
guidance and few resources when it comes to dealing with issues that cross
municipal boundaries, such as water quality, traffic congestion, or large scale
economic development projects.
sorts of technical assistance could the Regional Planning Board offer
The Regional Planning Board
should be both an effective body and an accountable body that continually seeks
cooperation and trust from local stakeholders.
- Against what criteria should the Regional Planning
Board be judged?
whom should the Regional Planning Board be accountable?
While the Regional Planning
Board currently covers seven counties, the issues it must address often impact
a larger region. The Board requires the ability to balance the need to work with
these surrounding communities with its vision of concentrating on development
within the existing geographic jurisdiction of the Board.
- How can the Regional Planning Board work with
surrounding municipalities under the current legislation?
would the Regional Planning Board expand its jurisdiction?
are complex questions that require substantial research and discussion. MPC
looks forward to assisting the board in its research and deliberation. We
encourage others to get involved and attend the meetings. See
for the board’s
schedule and other information.
Click here to read the Regional Planning Board's Action Plan for 2006 .
Click here for the full "Make or Break - Year One of the Regional Planning Board"