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St. Charles aldermen focus on comprehensive plan

Published: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 6:28 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES - Aldermen on Monday night got their first public look at the community-generated document that will guide growth and development in St. Charles for the next 15 years.

Mark Armstrong, chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Task Force, told the Planning and Development Committee that the document is the city’s first inwardly focused plan, and it omitted one element every other comprehensive plan has called for since 1928: more bridges across the Fox River.

“This plan does not ask for any new bridges,” he said. “That’s the first time that’s happened in our history.”

Work on the 2013 comprehensive plan began nearly two years ago. The process included resident and business questionnaires, interviews with key individuals and several workshops, including those for Charlestowne Mall, the east side, the west side and downtown.

Devin Lavigne of Houseal Lavigne, a planning consultant engaged to assist with the plan, said the draft comprehensive plan includes 10 umbrella categories that have 19 goals and more than 200 objectives.

The community has “given you quite the list of things to accomplish,” he said.

Fourth Ward Alderman Jo Krieger expressed concerns about some roadway proposals and their affect on neighborhoods. The other 4th Ward Alderman, Jim Martin, said some of the suggestions were proposed years ago and didn’t fly.

“It’s nice to have goals and dreams, but there’s practicality to all of it,” Martin said.

First Ward Alderman Ron Silkaitis expressed concerns about the catalyst sites identified downtown, which Armstrong said are parcels with a high propensity for change.

“It’s like we’re forcing things to move to put something else in there,” Silkaitis said. “I don’t want to lose what St. Charles is.”

By no means do those site suggestions seal the fate of the properties, Lavigne said. Rather, the uses outlined in the comprehensive plan would be used in the event that the businesses move or the properties sell.

Aldermen did not finish their discussion about the comprehensive plan before press time. Eventually, an updated final comprehensive plan will be forwarded to the City Council, which must hold a public hearing before formal adoption of the plan.

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