Joliet will seek community involvement as it develops its first comprehensive plan in nearly 60 years.
City planners are close to advertising for consultants to help develop the plan.
Joliet Director of Planning Michael Schwarz, who has reported on the project at recent city council committee meetings, said the last one was done in 1959.
“A lot of changes have happened since then,” Schwarz said.
The city has developed regional plans – the most recent being the downtown plan. Others such as the Southside Plan have at times been disregarded as being outdated.
This plan will be different, Schwarz said, both in scope and particulars.
It will take into consideration land uses, transportation needs, environmental concerns and other matters.
It won’t necessarily dictate what has to go where, but it should serve as a guide for city officials, developers and residents, Schwarz said.
“You’re not locked in,” he said.
“A planning document doesn’t mandate that your zoning decisions have to be in lockstep.”
Councilman Larry Hug at an Economic Development Committee last week commented on the plan, saying “I’m confident this will not be a pair of handcuffs.” However, he said, the city might want to make the plan “more rigid” in some areas to provide assurances to residents.
Given recent controversies over warehouse and truck-related developments, such as the Love’s Travel Stop now being planned for Interstate 80 and Briggs Street, there could be public interest in the plan.
Schwarz said the city will require consultants to develop a strategy for community meetings around town to encourage public participation. He’s even thinking of a kiosk at the Louis Joliet Mall.
“I foresee a very open process with every community group we have out there,” he said.
The plan is still at least two years away.
The planning department is working on a request for qualifications in which consultants will submit resumes. That will be followed up with a request for proposals and interviews. Schwarz said a consultant might be selected by January.