June Media Tips - Metropolitan Planning Council

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June Media Tips

Chicago Would Be First City to Ban Restrictive Land Use Covenants

With action on a proposed ordinance, the City of Chicago would ban grocery stores and pharmacies from using restrictive land use covenants to prevent competing retailers from occupying a site after another has closed their doors. If the ordinance passes, Chicago will become an international leader against this practice, which has left neighborhood residents in cities like Chicago, Vancouver, and New York City in a dangerous lurch, without a nearby store to buy fresh grocery items or medicine.

“Restrictive land use covenants are not uniformly bad, but in this case, they present an onerous challenge to communities,” said Peter Skosey, vice president of external relations for MPC, which worked with the Mayor’s Office and City Council on the ordinance. “It’s challenging enough to find a suitable buyer to adapt an empty big box because of its size and retailers’ strict design guidelines; preventing similar stores from using the site makes redevelopment much more difficult. The ordinance tackles these issues, ensuring that communities can retain their retail assets.”

MPC contact: Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Relations, 312.863.6004, pskosey@metroplanning.org
Contact: Ald. Manuel Flores, 1st Ward, 773.278.0101, ward01@cityofchicago.org

MPC Applauds 94th General Assembly for Legislative Victories

MPC (and the Campaign for Sensible Growth and A+ Illinois, both of which MPC helps to spearhead) worked actively during the 94th General Assembly to forward legislation in line with the Council’s mission of “promoting and implementing sensible planning and development policies” in northeastern Illinois and across the state. At session end, MPC was pleased with the excellent progress made on several fronts, including the passages of the following bills:

  • HB603: extends the Illinois Affordable Housing Tax Credit program for five years. (signed by Gov. Blagojevich on June 27)
  • SB1910: enables 15 counties to create stormwater management agencies to work with their municipalities to protect water quality and prevent flooding.
  • HB1663: puts the Regional Transportation Authority in charge of funding, financial oversight and review of all paratransit services for disabled riders, and provided a short-term solution for the Chicago Transit Authority’s operating funding shortfalls this year.
  • HB2222: provides for the expansion of downstate transit by changing the funding formula to allow more transit districts and counties to become eligible for state funds.
  • HB3121: establishes a Regional Planning Board responsible for developing and adopting a funding strategy to implement an integrated land use and transportation planning process in northeastern Illinois , effectively consolidating the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission and Chicago Area Transportation Study.
  • SB75: creates a $30 million state-funded rental assistance program, funded by a county recording fee of $10, to make rent affordable to Illinois families earning $19,000 or less.
  • SB966: amends 2003’s Affordable Housing Planning & Appeal Act to allow municipalities to meet their workforce housing goals by inter-governmental agreements with nearby municipalities.

For more information about these bills and their affect on northeastern Illinois and the state, contact the Metropolitan Planning Council, or visit our Web site, www.metroplanning.org.

MPC contact: Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Relations, 312.863.6004, pskosey@metroplanning.org
MPC contact: Scott Goldstein, Vice President of Policy and Planning, 312.863.6003, sgoldstein@metroplanning.org

Improved Regional Planning Can Reverse Region’s ‘Dirty’ Reputation

Recently, Reader’s Digest cited Chicago as the “dirtiest” U.S. city, based on a study rating cities and their surrounding suburbs and counties on five measures: air and water pollution, toxic emissions, hazardous waste, and sanitation force. While Chicagoans may bristle at the label, a telling detail – and a call to action for the Campaign for Sensible Growth, MPC, and partners in regional planning and development – was that Chicago’s score was adversely affected by air pollution and water issues in outlying areas.

With astonishing regional growth on the horizon, planning sensibly to preserve water quality and quantity is the issue of the decade. That’s why the Campaign for Sensible Growth, MPC, and Openlands Project are partnering with municipalities and county agencies in McHenry and in Kankakee/Will counties to create models for a regional approach to watershed planning. The organizations also led the passage of stormwater management legislation that allows the fast-growing counties of Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kankakee , Kendall and LaSalle to protect their water. To learn more about the watershed planning projects, visit www.growingsensibly.org.

Reducing congestion and air pollution, and protecting natural resources are values that shape much of MPC’s work. One goal of MPC-supported employer-assisted housing programs, for instance, is to help employees afford homes near their jobs, so that they can spend less time stuck in their cars – which belch emissions – and more time with their families. Likewise, MPC advocates for the expansion of public transit, reasoning again that travel options mean fewer solo drivers and less air pollution. Infill development, brownfield redevelopment, and conservation design: these are all sensible design tenets that MPC supports that will help make this region a desirable place to live for generations to come.

MPC contact: Ellen Shubart, Manager, Campaign for Sensible Growth, 312.863.6009, eshubart@metroplanning.org
Contact: Joyce O’Keefe, Deputy Director, Openlands Project,
312-863-6263, jokeefe@openlands.org

MPC Roundtables to Feature Transit, Housing, and School Funding Reform

The Metropolitan Planning Council is pleased to announce the 2005 Summer Roundtable Series, featuring three distinct sessions offering behind-the-scenes looks at public transit, housing, and school funding and tax reform in Illinois. At each roundtable, a panel of speakers will present their thoughts on the topic, followed by a moderated question-and-answer session. Lunch will be served. Summer roundtables are:

  • “Ticket to Ride: Meeting the Region’s Transit Needs,” Thursday, July 21, noon to 1:30 p.m., Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Fifth Floor, Chicago.
  • “Around the Bend : The Impact of a Shifting Federal Housing Policy,” Tuesday, July 26, noon to 1:30 p.m., Gardner Carton & Douglas, 191 N. Wacker Dr., 37 th Floor, Chicago.
  • “Getting the Job Done: The Politics of School Funding Reform,” Friday, Aug. 5, noon to 1:30 p.m., Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Fifth Floor, Chicago.

Media may attend free of charge, but a reservation is appreciated to plan for lunch. The Union League Club of Chicago requires business or business casual attire. For more details, including information on standard registration and costs, please visit www.metroplanning.org/calendar.asp.

MPC Co ntact: Peter Skosey, Vice President of External Relations, 312.863.6004, pskose y@metroplanning.org

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To learn more, contact Mandy Burrell, MPC communications associate, at 312-863-6018 or mburrell@metroplanning.org .

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