laying foundation for future
Proposed solution to property violations and junk cars presented
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[JUNE 2, 2005]
It's a new page in Logan County's history, with
cities, county and economic development groups all looking hard at
where we are and where we want to be. Our downtown's storefronts and
buildings have gotten facelifts that revitalized their appearance.
Downtown Lincoln streets were refurbished. Lincoln welcomed a
Goody's and Dollar Tree a couple of years ago, and now other
business are filling in on Woodlawn Road, making it a business
district with Interstate 55 access. And most recently the addition
of a world-renowned business, Sysco Foods, anchors efforts to forge
into a healthier future of our choosing.
Last week the Logan County Regional Planning Commission hosted a
community meeting to inform, excite and hopefully draw the interest
of citizens in the multiple processes that are taking place that
will help us become the place we'd like to be. Change is a necessary
factor; however, we do get to choose how we will change, and
officials are asking for residents to become involved in the
processes that are under way and will continue over the next couple
At the core of future plans is the development of a new
comprehensive plan. The Logan County Regional Planning Commission
has a questionnaire out that will help determine what types of
business and living environments we will pursue. The information
collected will be integrated in the new plan. The questionnaires are
online, in banks and will be delivered to homes in Atlanta and Mount
Pulaski. You can help shape our future by making your preferences
known in the 20-question checklist.
[To submit online,
critical component in planning is determining where industry,
residences and commercial development should go or not go. Zoning
and ordinances work together to make better neighbors and use of
land and more efficient use of infrastructure (tax dollars) funds.
The Logan County Board has reinitiated the planning and zoning
committee to examine ordinances and zoning.
The county and some municipalities have some problems with a few
landowners not complying with current ordinances. In particular
there is a need to be able to enforce the removal of inoperable
vehicles from properties.
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A backlog of higher priority criminal cases in the states attorney's
office prevents the county from issuing violations. County
coordinator Dewey Colter has been researching an alternative process
that a number of other Illinois counties have turned to.
The board can set up an administrative adjudication process. This
legal process allows an appointed official to issue violation
citations. The citation can be paid and the mess cleaned up, or the
property owner can pay a hearing fee and get a hearing before a
specially appointed hearing officer. The documentation of that
hearing would then go to the state's attorney for continued
processing. This manner of handling has met with great success in
The process can be applied to any department of government that
has rules and regulations, such as the health department. It can
also be designed to offer to municipalities via an intergovernmental
agreement if desired.
If accepted, the administrative adjudication process would not be
started until after November, when funds can be budgeted to start
it. Once it is up and running, costs for a hearing officer and
clerical processing could be covered by fines and fees that are
Colter will be presenting the administrative adjudication process
to the full county board in a couple of weeks. The board will be
given a month to look at it and consider the many variables.
At present, "We have no vehicle to get compliance," committee
member Dale Voyles said. This gives us an opportunity to put both
together, a review of our ordinances from a current perspective and
the proposed administrative adjudication process for the new
comprehensive plan, he said.