Monday, June 09, 2014
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County subdivision regulations nearing completion
Enterprise Zone reapplication eyed

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[June 09, 2014]  LINCOLN - The Logan County Planning and Zoning Committee met on Wednesday night to briefly discuss relevant issues. The primary topics were the progress being made on subdivision regulations and upcoming changes to Enterprise Zone legislation.

Committee members present were David Hepler, Pat O’Neill, Kevin Bateman, Robert Farmer, David Blankenship and Jan Schumacher. Zoning Officer Will D’Andrea was also present.

Subdivision Revisions

For the past several months, Zoning Officer Will D’Andrea has been working on drafting language for subdivision legislation on behalf of Logan County. D’Andrea presented the latest draft to the committee members Wednesday evening for said members to review.

D’Andrea said he has been working with county engineer Bret Aukamp to gain feedback from the township road commissioners in central Illinois on the drafted language. D’Andrea said he will be attending the next meeting of the road commissioners to work on more specific details, such as connectivity and sidewalks.

D’Andrea said the next step would likely be to send the draft out to consultants and engineering firms for review and additional feedback.

Board member Jan Schumacher suggested sending such a copy to the Farm Bureau. Kevin Bateman added that the various towns and townships should also have a chance to review the material. David Hepler added that it might be a good idea to contact groups such as Rural Fire Departments and other similar organizations.

“We’ve put a lot of hours into this, and I’m kinda proud of it. We need to keep moving forward in the right direction,” said Bateman.

Enterprise Zone Legislation

In recent years, the state government of Illinois decided to remove the Enterprise Zone program currently in place and start again from scratch. D’Andrea told the committee members that he had recently attended a conference where more of the details concerning the application process were explained, but not everything was covered in great detail at the conference.

“Our Zone is going to expire in 2017,” said D’Andrea. “They’re emphasizing that there are no existing Zones [after the current ones expire]. Anyone applying will apply for a brand new zone designation.”

D’Andrea said the new criteria will completely replace the old criteria. DCEO (or the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity) will score the applications, but ultimately the decision to approve will come from an advisory board of five people. Four of the members will represent collar county areas, and one will represent the downstate areas. This board will approve a maximum number of ninety-seven zones.

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D’Andrea said that the first round of applications will be filed by the end of this year in order to possibly be approved in 2016. The zone occupied by Logan County will not be eligible to apply until 2015. Each year, there will be a maximum number of eligible approvals, which will total ninety-seven.

D’Andrea said that new applicants would also have to compete with those who did not receive a zone in the previous year, should they apply again. D’Andrea said speakers at the conference emphasized the state’s focus on competition.

“They almost scrapped the program,” said D’Andrea.

D’Andrea also explained a term called the Local Labor Market Area (or LLMA). Eight of the 10 eligibility tests involve the LLMA. The LLMA can be defined as an area of economic activity. This could involve areas people commute to and from for work or other activities.

“The Enterprise Zone cannot go outside of your defined LLMA,” said D’Andrea, who added that the LLMA can exceed the proposed zone, and is defined by the applicant. The LLMA cannot cross state borders.

D’Andrea explained that an applicant only needs to fulfill three of the 10 requirements, but the advisory board is not required to award a zone due to scoring. “They kept saying it’s like applying to college and taking the SAT’s. Your SAT’s are only one component of admission. Nobody has an idea what the other components are,” said D’Andrea. “You may score a 410 [out of a maximum of 420 points] and not even get awarded.” D’Andrea also said that each test was rated on a scale that nobody else has seen yet.

D’Andrea also said that either a city or a county functions as an applicant. An existing zone cannot apply of its own accord, and that any of these entities will need to keep this mind for the next several months.


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