Northlake residents view comprehensive plan for city
Trevor Dick (left), a senior planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, shows part of a draft comprehensive plan for Northlake to resident Edgar Gamboa at the Northlake Public Library on Thursday, March 6. | Mark Lawton~Sun-Times Media
The 90-page draft version of the comprehensive plan for Northlake can be viewed online at www.cmap.illinois.gov/northlake.
Updated: April 15, 2013 10:06AM
NORTHLAKE — A draft plan for future land use in Northlake received kudos for its proposed extension of a bike and pedestrian path.
“I like the walking trail,” resident Jennifer Bucziewicz said. “I roller-skate and walk my dog there. I’m happy they’re planning on extending it.”
Resident Gerry Rogers agreed.
“That’s very nice,” Rogers said, though she’d also like to see improvements to Lake Street near I-294.
“When you drive off 290, its one lane,” Rogers said. “It’s dangerous.”
About 20 people showed up at the Northlake Library the evening of March 6 to view posters of the 90-page proposed comprehensive plan and talk to staff from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
Also among the visitors was Char Pagan, a 20-year resident of Northlake. Pagan also likes extending the bike path, though she’s more concerned about increasing the number of recreational possibilities for young people.
“Anything that could prevent gang involvement,” Pagan said. “Maybe skills programs. Instead of picking up a gun, picking up a hammer.”
Olivia Navarro, a retired supervisor for a pharmaceutical company, would like to see “a little downtown. People can sit down and eat ice cream in the summer.”
The proposed comprehensive plan will give Northlake a vision for the next 20 years and a guide on how to get there. It considers such aspects as land use, transportation, and infrastructure improvements.
Its priorities include strengthening the city’s residential neighborhoods and its commercial and industrial businesses; enhancement of pedestrian amenities; and improving the appearance of Northlake’s commercial districts.
The plan doesn’t specifically address improving Lake Street near I-290, though it does call for improved circulation throughout the area, said Trevor Dick, a senior planner with the metropolitan planning agency.
“The big thing is the off-ramp from I-294 to North Avenue,” Dick said. “The idea is if that happens, hopefully other improvements can take place.”
The plan also suggests that in the long run, both Northlake and Franklin Park annex part of unincorporated Cook County. Leyden Township has the second-most-populous unincorporated area in Cook County — almost 10,000 people, according to 2012 task force report (Maine Township is highest, with more than 24,000).
“Being in a municipality, you generally have more direct service and a higher level of service,” Dick said. Some of that unincorporated area is in a flood plain and some has aging infrastructure. “That’s why we talk about annexing parcel by parcel and what the city can afford.”
Another goal is increasing energy efficiency in the city’s commercial and industrial businesses.
“There are lots of grants available right now to help businesses become more efficient,” Dick said. “The big thing is for us to help the city become educators.”
The metropolitan planning agency is incorporating comments from the open house into the comprehensive plan. The Northlake Zoning, Planning and Economic Development Commission will consider the plan in late April. The City Council will consider the plan in May.