MPC Media Tips is an occasional list of story ideas from the Metropolitan Planning Council.
Remapping Chicago: MPC to host zoning strategy workshops for community
The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is hosting two workshops about the
City of Chicago's historic zoning rewrite process, its current status and
critical next steps. MPC played a significant role over the last year by
ensuring citizen input through a series of community meetings around the city.
These resulted in nine recommendations from MPC to the Mayor's Zoning Reform
Commission, all of which were incorporated into interim reports on the plan.
The next phase of the process will be the development of a new zoning map.
Mapping determines where new zoning districts are placed, from
pedestrian-oriented retail to mixed use, and how communities are developed over
time. MPC's two workshops are designed to help community groups collaborate with
alderman to develop a zoning change strategy for their wards. Zoning experts,
including Beth Hibner of Camiros, Ltd. and Mike Mihelbergel of Bank of America,
will provide background on the process, and answer specific questions about
remapping and ways community groups can be effective participants.
The first workshop is on Nov. 7, 2002 at Bank One, 6650 S. Stony Island Ave.;
the second is on Nov. 14, 2002 at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St.
Louis Ave. Both sessions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. [These
workshops are open to the working media but not the general public. Please
contact MPC at the number below to register.]
Vice President, External Relations
Advocate Bethany jumps on employer-assisted housing bandwagon
With the help of MPC staff, Advocate Bethany Hospital on Chicago's west side
is the latest company to launch an employer-assisted housing (EAH) program for
its employees. The hospital wants to support housing development activities in
the communities it serves, boost employee satisfaction and increase employee
retention. Advocate Bethany is the fifth employer to roll out MPC's EAH
initiative to employees. Those who qualify will benefit from homeownership
education provided by Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Chicago and down
payment assistance from Advocate Bethany. Employees will receive $5,000 if they
commit to stay at the hospital for five years, or $3,000 tied to a three-year
commitment. Other employers with active EAH programs include Bank One, Northwest
Community Hospital, and the City of St. Charles.
Critical Cargo message resounds in Washington and throughout the
Just as the effects of the longshoremen strike on the West Coast began to
ripple across the country, representatives of the Metropolitan Planning Council
traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with Rep. William Lipinski (D-Ill.), Rep.
Jerry Weller (R-Ill.), Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and other key leaders
to discuss the region's freight transportation needs.
The strike brought into clear focus what would happen if our region's role as
a major transportation hub for cargo and passengers alike were threatened. Business
Leaders for Transportation's Critical
Cargo: A Regional Freight Action Agenda has proven to be a valuable tool in
Washington, as work moves forward to design improvements to the nation's
deteriorating rail freight system. At stake is not just the future of an $8
billion regional shipping industry that employs 117,000 with an annual payroll
of $3.2 billion. Freight problems affect the daily lives of all eight million of
us who live and work in northeastern Illinois, whether measured by excess
commuting time, worsened levels of air pollution, missed school classes and
business appointments or delayed shipments to businesses.
Campaign for Sensible Growth lauds Illinois Environmental Protection
Agency's reversal on wastewater treatment
In a quiet but dramatic reversal, the Illinois Environmental Protection
Agency (IEPA) decided not to eliminate the Facility Planning Area process, which
determines the location of new sewer and wastewater treatment facilities in
unincorporated areas, and therefore, the location of new development. Water
quality was the underlying catalyst for the creation of the Facility Planning
Areas process and, even with it, communities have found themselves at odds with
each other over critical development issues that include where sewer lines can
and cannot be placed. Richard Acker of Openlands Project, a Campaign partner,
maintains, "The FPA process does work, even if imperfectly. It protects water
quality by ensuring water and sewer development are subject to good planning and
balanced growth goals."
IEPA is still not convinced that the FPA is the most effective tool, but
local planning departments — including Will and McHenry counties and Lake County
Stormwater Management — have joined the Campaign and MPC in voicing strong
support for retention of the FPA process.
Contact: Ellen Shubart
for Sensible Growth
Click here for downloadable version.