What is the Logan County Regional Planning Commission?
The LCRPC is an independent commission formed by the County Board in the late 60s. The purpose of the commission is to develop and maintain land use plans for the county as well as the municipalities in Logan County. The land use plans are called the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan may also include other goals of the County and the Cities, such as economic development, residential development, increasing parks and recreation areas and other quality of life issues.
The mission of the LCRPC in its simplest form is to develop plans based on input from the public and use those plans to make recommendations to the County Board or Cities regarding rezoning requests and extensions of infrastructure. Commercial and Industrial areas should be developed around transportation hubs. Residential development should have proper barriers or buffer zones from the Commercial zoning classifications.
The members of the Regional Planning Commission include the Mayors of Lincoln, Mt Pulaski and Atlanta as well as members of the County Board and other non - elected officials from the community.
Phil Mahler is our Director. He coordinates Planning and Zoning Activities for the County as well as serves the City of Lincoln on their Planning Commission.
How are the Regional Planning Commission and the Comprehensive Plan funded?
The City of Lincoln and the Logan County Board make up the majority funding for our annual budget. The Cities of Atlanta and Mt Pulaski also contribute. One of the goals of the comprehensive plan should be to review the funding needs of the commission and also reevaluate the mission and the membership of the commission.
We are currently asking the Cities and County for additional special funding for the Comprehensive Plan. The proposal that we have approved from the McLean County Regional Planning Commission is $55,000.
Why is Logan County using the services of McLean County for the Comprehensive Plan?
We have chosen the McLean County Regional Planning Commission to assist us with this plan for several reasons.
The Comprehensive Plan has not been updated for over 20 years. Why is it important to Logan County to update the Plan at this time?
The Comp Plan is important to the Logan County because it is a blueprint for the future growth. Recently, the City of Lincoln has landed a major new employer and we hope the other new business will follow. We need to have plans in place that encourage growth by giving guidance to our elected officials as to where growth should occur. The County and Cities can them make provisions for infrastructure funding based on these plans and concepts.
Once a good workable plan is in place the County and Cities can refer to it when making zoning decisions. Also if someone petitions the City or County to build a home and request a rezoning they can refer to the map and see who their neighbors may be 10 or 20 years down the road.
The plan needs to have annual updates and progress reports to the community to keep the ideas and goals in the plan current. Some of the goals of the Comprehensive Plan may include, Rezoning of potential growth areas, Ordinance Changes, GIS development, CEDS development, Greenways Plan development and restructuring of the LCRPC.
Logan County has not experienced any significant population growth in the last 40 years. Population growth, residential and commercial development are key issues for our school systems and other government services. Neighboring communities have experienced huge population growth. We need remove the barriers to growth and plan for the future.
How important is GIS to the planning process?
Tom Hickman, Logan County's Highway Engineer is heading up GIS development. The State has mandated that GIS be implemented and a stream of funding has been established to pay for it. GIS is integral to Land Use Planning. By using updated aerial photographic maps, we can overlay existing infrastructure and design needed roads, water, sewer and storm drainage plans. We can also use the maps to market sites ready for development.
The main use at the county level will be for parcel mapping and storage of information for the assessor's office, but the practical uses for it are endless. The 911 system, all Cities, Realtors and other developers will find it very useful tool.
What is the CEDS?
CEDS is an acronym for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The Lincoln/Logan Economic Development Partnership and LCRPC will work on the CEDS jointly.
The CEDS is similar to the Comprehensive Plan, but it has a Economic Development focus. The Federal Government requires this plan be on file before any Economic Development Grant funds are released to Logan County. We discovered this problem while negotiating with SYSCO and we may have missed an opportunity for Federal funding. It is important to get this done right away.
How important is an Economic Development Website and how does that complement the plans?
The Economic Development Website will be a great tool for marketing our community's assets. Available commercial sites in Lincoln, Mt Pulaski and Atlanta can be posted on the web for prospective new businesses to see. GIS photography can be used to show site details such as road and rail accessibility and infrastructure.
The Website can also have links to the Comprehensive Plan, CEDS, Greenways Plans and any other community visioning plans. This is a great opportunity to show current and potential new residents and business owners what we have planned for our communities. The Economic Development Partnership is working on designing and raising funds for a website.
A community survey is being distributed by the Logan County Regional Planning Commission. How will that information be used for these plans?
The Comp Plan, CEDS and the Greenways Plan all need to have public input to be effective. We hope to use the information from the surveys as the basis of developing goals for the plans.
This is not the only opportunity for public input. Public hearings will be held when drafts of these plans are ready to presented. We can then streamline the communities focus and refine our goals and strategies.