Cary hires Chicago firm to help with comprehensive plan process

CARY – The village is set to begin a 10- to 12-month process of updating its comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 1992.

Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago was hired Tuesday to complete the comprehensive plan at a cost of $99,612. Houseal recently completed the McHenry County comprehensive plan.

John Houseal, a principal at the firm, said the firm was “thrilled” to be working with Cary.

“We’re committed to bringing a brand-new, fresh approach and not duplicating something we’ve done anyplace else, but crafting something unique to Cary,” Houseal said. 

There would be a project website, community outreach through social media opportunities for workshops, among other things, for residents to give input and learn about the comprehensive plan project.

Houseal Lavigne plans to create sub-area plans for the downtown, Route 14, Route 31 and Three Oaks  Road for additional development as part of the comprehensive plan.

The process is expected to take 10 to 12 months.

Houseal also will work on the zoning code update after the comprehensive plan is completed.

Village officials budgeted $150,000 this fiscal year to complete both its comprehensive plan and its zoning ordinance update.

Zoning decisions should be made based off a comprehensive plan, a staff memo said.

“You need to establish your vision, you need to establish your land-use policies first, and then you build your zoning from there,” said Christopher Stilling, director of community and economic development. 

Comprehensive plans are documents that provide the vision for desired change and development for a community for a 15- to 20-year period, according to a Village Board memo.

There have been changes in economic conditions since the plan was updated in 1992 that require a re-evaluation of the village’s future vision and growth patterns.

As part of the process, a steering committee of 10 to 12 members will be established and will include Trustees Rick Dudek and Bob Bragg, members from the Zoning, Planning and Appeals Commission, members of other taxing bodies, such as the school district and park district, business owners, property owners and residents.

Village President Mark Kownick said having Houseal Lavigne on board will help bring an unbiased opinion to the village.

“We want to get the right answers and we want to get things in the right spots that’s going to give us [economic] growth,” Kownick said. “We want to plan out what’s going to be the best, what’s going to be the biggest bang for the village of Cary.”