Six smiling faces arrived at the Journal & Topics offices in Des Plaines this week for a discussion on where people live. Specifically, the challenges local residents have become used to, include stopping the spread of foreclosure, making room for an aging population, and maintaining the abodes that make Northwest suburbia a quality place to call home.
It was a quick, refreshing presentation that provides hope for the future. The newest “Homes for a Changing Report”, developed by four area planning agencies including the new Northwest Suburban Housing Collaborative, offers 130 pages of statistics and easy-to-read recommendations for five area towns: Arlington Hts., Buffalo Grove, Mt. Prospect, Palatine and Rolling Meadows. It identifies ways the towns can work together, using statistics and population projections to “implement balanced housing plans” over the next 30 years. The balance comes in working toward a strong mix of owner-occupied as well as rental dwellings in the five towns, positioned close to various public transit options like buses and trains.
Some specifics caught our eye. In Arlington Hts., condominium units account for 60% of the village’s foreclosures, according to report. One recommendation calls for Arlington Hts. to work closer with condo associations to track foreclosures, develop “intervention strategies” for “troubled” properties, and make changes to the village rental licensing system.
In Mt. Prospect, the report urges a closer eye on “growth opportunities” on the village’s south side around the United Airlines headquarters, as well as coordination with Arlington Hts. and Rolling Meadows on developing the Algonquin Road corridor.
Still, the recommendations are just that: recommendations. The Collaborative communities can pick and choose what they would like to use in future years. The hope of the planning agencies involved---Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Metropolitan Planning Council---is that the recommendations would be included in each of the towns’ comprehensive plans.
It’s nice to have something in writing, especially when it comes to ideas, planning, and making where we live better. It can happen, and thanks to those involved in creating the meticulous “Homes” report, five local towns have something to work with.