What is a Comprehensive Plan?
A Comprehensive Plan is a long-range strategy that guides future development and addresses Village needs related to commercial areas, sustainability, economic development, transportation, housing, and more. It considers opportunities to maintain or enhance community character, Village services and community facilities. Comprehensive Plans often include subarea plans, which are detailed recommendations for areas of town likely to see changes or that represent opportunities for desired change. Milwaukee Avenue will include several subareas emphasized in the plan. This is because it is a major commercial corridor for the Village and provides many opportunities for residents, employees and visitors to enjoy the community.
Potential site development example from Lincolnshire’s 2022 Corporate Center Subarea Strategy Plan (source: Ginkgo Planning & Design)
Do we have a plan now?
Yes, the Village’s comprehensive plan was last updated in 2012. While perhaps not that long ago, much has changed in our community and our region since then, which makes evaluating future opportunities a wise choice at this time. Keep in mind that planning is not a one-time action, Village officials are always planning, and that work will benefit from an up-to-date statement of community values and intentions. The comprehensive plan is an exciting chance to focus and coordinate those ongoing efforts. The Village has other plans that set out findings and recommendations related to future plans, programs, and activities. These plans will be considered in preparing the new comprehensive plan and include the recently completed plans for Transformative Opportunities and Industrial / Warehouse Design Guidelines.
Read more below about the benefits of comprehensive plans, the process of creating one, and how the Village will use the plan going forward.
Downtown Redevelopment Area Concept Sketch from Lincolnshire’s 2012 Comprehensive Plan (source: A. Epstein & Sons International)
Why do we need a Comprehensive Plan?
Comprehensive planning formalizes and communicates the Village’s vision for its future. This serves as a tool for economic sustainability and bring about change. Specifically, the plan is a tool to manage new development, respond to the evolving economy, define ideas for sustainability, and inform public policy and investment. In short, a comprehensive plan is the community’s investment guide for the private and public sectors.
What is the process?
The comprehensive planning process takes time. It begins with data collection and asking residents, business representatives and other stakeholders to share their thoughts on the community today and into the future. The Lincolnshire plan will take stock of local real estate markets and the natural environment in which the village is located. After due consideration of those and other key data touchpoints, goals and objectives for the community will be defined. Draft plans for the village and key subareas will be developed based on the goals and fundamental characteristics of the village (in terms of local markets and the built and natural environments). Once compiled in draft form, the plan and subarea plans will be shared with the community and additional feedback invited. At that point, the full plan will be prepared for review by the public, and formally considered by the Village Board meeting before being adopted. This process began in the Fall of 2022 and is planned for completion in late 2023.
Who is preparing the plan?
The Village has hired a consultant team to prepare the plan. Teska Associates, Inc. from Evanston is the lead consultant. They focus on planning for land uses, urban design, public engagement and overall community plan-making. They are joined by Valerie S. Kretchmer Associates, Inc. (which will lead efforts related to market assessments and economic development) and Hey Associates, Inc. (which will focus on issues related to environment, sustainability, stormwater management, and engineering). The team will work very closely with Village staff throughout the process. The final group is the Lincolnshire Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. This is a group of around twenty people that will meet at key points in the planning process to add ideas and insights about the community to the process. They will review and refine draft policy directions and preliminary recommendations of the plan to help those be in line with community goals. Lastly, they will review the complete draft plan before sending it to the Village Board for their consideration and ultimate approval.
What does the Village hope to gain through this process?
Through this process, the Village hopes to achieve the following:
- Build Community Consensus – encourage public support for a collective vision that provides clarity and consensus when proposed projects are consistent with the plan.
- Provide Continuity – give future Village Boards and officials a common framework for addressing development and land use issues over time.
- Build Community Capacity – engage residents, business owners and other partners and empower them to participate in carrying out Lincolnshire’s shared vision.
- Promote Economic Development – clearly communicate Lincolnshire’s expectation as it relates to economic sustainability.
- Balance Competing Interests – evaluate the community as a whole to create logical and rational development decisions.
- Preserve Valued Resources – plan for the enhancement or protection of natural resources in the Village.
- Shape the Appearance of the Community – consider policies and guidelines to build on the Village’s distinctive character and find ways to enhance a sense of place in Lincolnshire.
- Validate Decision-Making – provide a foundation on which the community can make sound zoning decisions.
Advertisement for the original Lincolnshire subdivision, 1955
The planning process will begin with an evaluation of existing conditions – this includes the built environment, real estate markets, natural environment, community policies and practices, and public perspectives. Recommendations will be made as part of an overall implementation strategy.
Land Use: The types of activities that take place in the Village.
A Future Land Use Plan will be part of the comprehensive plan to guide future decisions on new development. The plan visually describes what types of uses the community finds most appropriate and includes both developed and undeveloped land.
Economic Development: The activities that bring business and employment to a community either through reuse of buildings, or development / redevelopment of land or buildings.
These “activities” are the many efforts that go together to form a local economy. These include community marketing, building and maintaining relationships within the real estate and development community, support for local businesses and entrepreneurship, and much more. In addressing economic development, the Plan will look at what types of uses (retail, restaurant, office, logistics, entertainment, etc.) are appropriate and prepare a strategy to attract or retain them.
Housing: Planning for a range of quality housing opportunities that are desirable for the community.
Not everyone in Lincolnshire will need or want the same type of place to live. The comprehensive plan will inventory existing housing and housing markets to understand current conditions. Beyond that, the planning process will consider what is needed to ensure there is adequate quality and appropriate housing for the community in the future.
Sustainability + Resilience: Sustainability is providing for future generations in terms of the environment and economic strength of the Village. Resilience considers preparing to bounce back from seen and unforeseen challenges.
The comprehensive plan considers a long-term time horizon, so it is well suited to contemplating how to tackle both anticipated and unforeseen challenges. The Lincolnshire comprehensive plan will consider evaluating opportunities to address questions before the Village today from land use, environmental, and economic perspectives. It will also present the goals, objectives, and characteristics that are fundamental to Lincolnshire. By defining and advancing these foundations of community, the Village will have the context in which to consider unanticipated happenings.
Sub-Area Planning: Sub-areas are parts of the Village that merit focused attention in the planning process.
Portions of the Village can be expected to see pressure for development or redevelopment in the future. This is the normal life cycle of communities. The purpose of looking at such subareas in a comprehensive plan is to have a thoughtful and well-reasoned answer to a property owner or developer asking, “what does the Village want to see here”. Having an answer to that question is how communities plan for their futures, rather than having the future be formed by individual and uncoordinated decisions.