Enterprise zone legislation
Enterprise zone manager and
zoning officer Will D'Andrea told the planning commission that he
recently attended a conference for zoning officers. At the
conference, new legislation concerning enterprise zones was brought
"They started the conference by saying, anything you know about
the enterprise zone's administration you can forget about because
the whole landscape has changed," said D'Andrea. "There is a whole
new set of criteria for applications."
D'Andrea also said that now the enterprise zone in Logan County
is set to expire in 2016. At that time, all of the enterprise zones
will expire and fall under the new legislation guidelines. New
applications will have to be submitted by any governing body in
Illinois that wishes to have such a zone. The new zones will have
different borders than the current zones.
D'Andrea said he will begin providing material to the city and
county organizations early next year, after he has received more
information as to the new guidelines. D'Andrea is expecting that a
new application will need to be filed in 2013.
One of the consequences of a change in legislation involves the
10-year tax abatement that comes with working in the enterprise
zone. As the new legislation stands, the tax abatement will still
end with the expiration of the zone, even if the 10-year period is
D'Andrea said that because of this, he will have to tell every
property owner who is currently in the zone or will be in the future
that their benefits may prematurely expire and they will have to
file a new report with the Department of Revenue.
"If we lose the enterprise zone, we are going to have to look at
other ways to make ourselves attractive," said Bill Martin. "What we
need to keep in the back of our minds is that if we don't get it,
we're not dead and defeated. We've got other things we can do."
Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder also added that the enterprise zone
makes the job of attracting new businesses to Lincoln a lot easier.
As Bill Graff put it, "it's one more wrench in the toolbox."
Bike trail plan
D'Andrea provided an update on the potential bicycle trail plan
to be implemented in Logan County. D'Andrea said that in November he
and county engineer Bret Aukamp met with the Farnsworth Group.
Farnsworth presented four initial drafts, using suggestions from
various Logan County citizens and officials. Of the four drafts, two
covered parts of Logan County -- the northern and southern halves,
one covered Lincoln, and one covered Atlanta.
D'Andrea said that Farnsworth representatives should be present
at the February planning commission meeting to provide an updated
draft based on feedback from D'Andrea and Aukamp.
Graff also mentioned that as part of the bike trail planning, the
commission was considering lobbying the Illinois Department of
Transportation to build the new bridge over Salt Creek large enough
to include a trail that would connect to the rest of the overall
bike plan. As it stands now, Salt Creek creates a barrier that is
difficult to cross with bicycle trails.
Comprehensive plan revisions
The discussion returned to the Logan County Comprehensive Plan.
The planning commission had begun to examine the plan in October in
order to determine what revisions should be made.
Crane suggested that as part of the evaluation of the current
plan, the commission could return to a previous strategy. When
Martin was chairman, he provided a survey to the commission members,
asking about what members wanted to see become a priority.
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Graff took the idea a little further by suggesting that the
commission talk to outside organizations to find direction. As an
example, he mentioned that someone could talk to trucking companies
to see what road conditions in Logan County are really like.
Martin agreed that talking to the public would be a good idea.
"That's the only way we're going to get that information," he said.
"I think that when you get that information, you're going to end
up updating the plan at the same time," added Graff.
Martin said he would try to find the survey for the commission to
look at again in the near future. D'Andrea said he would try to find
meeting minutes from any discussions the commission may have had
previously about the surveys.
Another item of business was the introduction of a new face to
the planning commission. Dawn Pettus will be taking over as
secretary for the purpose of creating meeting minutes for the
planning commission. Previously, Graff, the chairman, was providing
Pettus has worked with the Logan County Joint Solid Waste Agency
since April. Planning commissioner Fred Finchum, who also works with
the waste agency, said that Pettus does a fine job at that agency,
and he welcomed her to the planning commission meetings.
Planning commission budget
At the November meeting of the planning commission, the budget
for next year was approved after adjustments were made to the
initial draft. At Wednesday's meeting, a cleaned-up second draft of
the budget was given to commission members. This draft had also been
updated to reflect the changes made to budgetary numbers at the
Graff took the opportunity to thank D'Andrea and Derrick Crane
for their work on the budget drafts. Graff also said that he would
like to see the commission take time during the next fiscal year to
come up with new written budgetary guidelines.
The January meeting will be a holiday dinner for the planning
commission members. As a result, there will be no business discussed
until the meeting in February.
D'Andrea said that at the February meeting he is expecting that
the commission will see a proposal for a pet cemetery. This cemetery
would be unrelated to the one being built by the Humane Society of
Logan County. D'Andrea said he is waiting for the last pieces of
paperwork before the commission is approached by the owners.
Planning commission members present were chairman Bill Graff,
Lincoln Mayor Keith Snyder, Blair Hoerbert, Bill Martin, Atlanta
Mayor Fred Finchum, Derrick Crane and Gerald Lolling. Doug Muck and
zoning officer Will D'Andrea were also present.
[By DEREK HURLEY]