Cook County Accepts Unincorporated Maine-Northfield Plan
CMAP Expects To Release Annexation Impact Study In Next 30 Days; Britton ‘Point Person’ Talking With Municipal Leaders, Crafting Pilot Plan
By Tom Robb | on July 02, 2019
Cook County Dept. of Planning and Development officials accepted the Maine-Northfield Unincorporated Area Plan drafted by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) last week.
Fiscal questions are expected to address when a supplemental Maine-Northfield report on fiscal impacts is expected to be released in about a month. Once that report is released, Cook County Commissioner Scott Britton (D-14th), a former Glenview village trustee, whose district includes most of Northfield Township and a small part of Maine Township, said he would discuss the plan and next steps with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “The plan addresses issues of land use, stormwater, transportation, housing, and community coordination and capacity. As part of a three-year effort, planners engaged hundreds of community residents with events throughout the study area,” a CMAP statement issued Monday announcing the plan’s acceptance by county planners said. The report was “accepted” by county planners, but was not “adopted” by county commissioners. CMAP officials said the plan would need to be adopted before plans move forward.
The plan, if adopted by commissioners who commissioned the 113-page draft report, would serve as a comprehensive plan for unincorporated Maine and Northfield townships. It would provide planning guidance in the areas of land use, stormwater management, transportation, housing and coordination for the next five-to-10 years.
The plan covers a three-square-mile area across unincorporated Maine and Northfield townships with a population of about 36,000. It recommends creating municipal boundary agreements, as municipalities have legal influence on areas within a mile-and-a-half of their borders. Most of the report is unchanged from a draft report released by CMAP in spring 2018. One anticipated element — not included in the report accepted by county planners — is the, “Fiscal Impact of Annexation Report.” CMAP Senior Planner Jake Seid said that fiscal impact report is expected to be released in about a month.
A key goal both in the report and of Preckwinkle is to see municipalities absorb unincorporated areas surrounding them. Mayors, city and village managers have responded to that goal by asking “Who’s going to pay for it.”
Britton said he has become the point person to talk about possible area annexation on behalf of the county.
Scott Britton, a former Glenview village trustee and current 14th District Cook County Commissioner, reads a county proclamation at a May Glenview Village Board meeting. (Tom Robb/Journal photo)
“This is going to be a challenging thing,” Britton said. “This is not going to get done overnight.”
Britton said is eagerly waiting to see the financial impact statement and that he is working to craft a plan where unincorporated areas could be incorporated without substantial burdens on municipalities, the county or property owners, both residential and commercial. Britton said he wants to start an annexation pilot program in areas in and near his district, to craft agreements to increase annexation without unduly burdening any one of the three stakeholders involved: property owners, municipalities and county government.
He said he has been in conversation with other area county commissioners including Pete Silvestri (R-9th), Larry Suffredin (D-13th), Kevin Morrison (D-15th), and Sean Morrison (R-17th) along with mayors and village and city managers to help find a solution all can accept.
Cost-sharing could include higher taxes or fees on residents of currently unincorporated areas. “If they will get improvements (to roads and sewers) they should get some of the cost, both homeowners and businesses,” said Britton.
The plan divides up unincorporated areas of Maine and Northfield townships into five study areas.