Friday, Aug. 18

Community engages in comprehensive plan process          Send a link to a friend

Lincoln City Hall chambers packed; citizens comment

[AUG. 18, 2006]  Lincoln was the last of the Logan County communities to hold its public hearing on the new Logan County Comprehensive Plan, "Acres of Opportunity." The hearing was before the Lincoln Planning Commission.

Planners might have been pleased by the turnout, as City Hall chambers were packed to capacity. A number of individuals elected to speak, some with questions, some with concerns, some with suggestions and many to compliment and thank those who put the document together.

Reviews of both the comprehensive plan and the greenways plan were provided by representatives of the group from McLean County that provided technical assistance. Jennifer Sicks explained the plan contents, objectives and goals.

With the city of Lincoln being the county seat and representing half the county population, Lincoln dominates growth in the plan.

Particularly important in the Lincoln portion of the plan is land use. City planners were reminded to look at growth potentials 1.5 miles beyond the current city limits, paying particular attention to land-use factors and zoning.

Areas that probably will not be developed would be greenways around Kickapoo Creek Park and Lincoln Lakes.

Interstate 55 interchanges to the south and north are of particular importance. The south, with its flood plain areas, is less likely to develop.

Marked for potential commercial development are 228 acres to the southwest and another 400 acres in other locations. These areas were identified for their highway and transportation access.

Dolan Dalpoas, president and chief executive officer of Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, said that the hospital has taken out a contingency to purchase land across from the Logan County Fairgrounds. It is not certain that the hospital will act on that purchase, but they are considering a health care campus for that area. He asked that as the comprehensive plan unfolds, the future plans of the hospital be taken into consideration.

One audience member said that he had observed the current rate of development and had run some numbers on the housing development. He believes that housing is falling behind by as much as 300 percent a year.

Patrick Doolin asked who would be assessing and measuring impact on schools and neighborhoods as growth takes place.

He also suggested that routinely publishing information for the public to view would be beneficial.

Paul Russell reviewed the greenways plan, which was compiled by Rick Nolan. Greenways may provide active recreation, improve aesthetics such as in a scenic break, protect nature by providing sanctuary or migratory paths, or be used to increase tourism, he said. There are some areas already set aside in the county for potential greenway development. Other areas identified for potential development follow streams and roadways.

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A Route 66 bike trail plan is under development that connects Logan County to McLean and Sangamon County trails. The trail loops through Lincoln, potentially increasing tourism as well as providing recreation.

Some concern was expressed by citizens that government might infringe on rights of private property owners if their property were to be selected as a greenway. Dan Bock wanted to know if owners might be either forced to sell to the government or maybe prevented from selling their property if it became a greenway.

Several authorities, including Paul Russell, assured them this does not happen with greenways.

There are all kinds of greenways. In some, such as for conservation, private property owners may voluntarily enter an agreement at their own choice. Landowners are often creating natural habitats on flood plains.

Lists of observed errors -- mostly mislabeling on the land-use maps, zoning conflicts and the like -- were submitted to the Lincoln Planning Commission by city engineer Mark Mathon and by Lincoln and Logan County Development Partnership director Rob Orr.

When all were heard, the commission determined that it was necessary to meet again to resolve inaccuracies and conflicting information, review suggestions, and allow the organizers opportunity to make changes before accepting the plan and recommending it to the city council for their approval. The Lincoln Planning Commission will meet on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. with the McLean planners, Orr and any Logan County Regional Planning Commission members who wish to attend.

Draft of Logan County Comprehensive Plan

Draft of Logan County Greenways Plan 

[Jan Youngquist]

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