Champaign’s plans for growth focus on road improvement

By Amanda Liberatore

During Tuesday’s study session of the Champaign City Council, the staff heading “Champaign Tomorrow”, a comprehensive plan outlining future growth for the city, presented the council with the growth area analysis report. They have been using this report to update the future land-use map.

“This is one of the most important planning documents that we have,” said city manager Steven Carter. “It predicts plans for our city’s future growth development.”

Rob Kowalski, assistant planning director, showed the council the results of the growth area analysis that he and the staff ran. They analyzed areas for possible development, studying the service capacity for the areas within existing service limits.

These services include sewer service, fire protection, and arterial road conditions.

“Our goal is to have permission from council to develop the update to this plan and the land-use map by using a methodology that gives primary consideration for growth in areas where service is already available,” said Kowalski.

The staff’s analysis even included the developments which were approved for future growth, but are not built on. When analyzing the service areas that were available for development, the staff realized that many of these locations would require road improvement before development was able to take place.

This aspect of the plan was of particular concern to the council.

“With the state of the economy and the market right now, we need to plan cautiously so that we can make sure we have the funds to improve these roads,” said Dist. 3 Council member Vic McIntosh. “Unless the developer would be willing to help with the road funding, we cannot develop without knowing how to properly fund the project.”

Kowalski said that in order for growth in the analyzed areas to be successful, road improvements are definitely necessary, as they improve the general service capacity for the locations.

After continued discussion, the council directed city staff to update the plan, with a 6-0 vote.

“Champaign Tomorrow” is a plan that will set policy for growth of the city over the next 20 years.