“Champaign Tomorrow” team to present update on plan for Champaign

The “Champaign Tomorrow” team will present updates on the Comprehensive Plan to the Champaign City Council at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting. The team members will specifically address the draft of the Future Land Use Map, which highlights the projected growth of the community within the next 20 years.

The Comprehensive Plan is revised every five years to adapt to the changing physical layout, economic standing and resource availability of the city, said Lacey Rains, city planner. The previous rewrite to the plan was made in 2002 and the team began updating it in 2007. Revisions to the Future Land Use Map will be among the final steps to completing the final draft of the Comprehensive Plan.

“The Comprehensive Plan is the overarching document, huge in importance, which guides the way the physical layout of the city will expand in the next years,” Rains said. “The Future Land Use Map is probably the most referred piece within the Comprehensive Plan.”

Rains said Tuesday’s presentation will only analyze the outskirts of Champaign, which are defined as the lands within 1.5 miles of the city borders, for its development. The lands will be broken down into three tiers: Tier One is land that is ready for construction and fully equipped with services, Tier Two is land that will need work before construction can begin, such as a missing sewage line, and Tier Three is land that is not appropriate for growth at this time. City service development, which is more costly than city expansion, will be looked at in a later meeting.

“We are thinking of how much development we can do,” Rains said. “Also, we’re looking at what is more cost effective, spending in a service area or developing growth areas.”

Michael La Due, district 2 council member, said he and many other council members find it more important to invest in improving inner city infrastructure and services rather than municipality expansion.

“At a time when our resources are shrinking, I think we do ourselves a disservice to our community if we chose to expand our borders,” La Due said. “We just went $21 million into debt to correct a 90-year-old infrastructure problem. I’d say we are more concerned about consolidating our services than continuing expansion.”

The Future Land Use Map will be different from previous drafts of the map in that it categorizes the land by neighborhood types, rather than by population densities, Rains said. This revision to the map was requested by citizens and local businesses.

“We’re wanting input on these changes from the council,” Rains said. “We’ve changed the criteria of typifying these areas, so we want to know if this is the direction we should be with the map.”

The “Champaign Tomorrow” team hopes to see the final draft of the entire plan available to the public by late spring or early summer.