Why Does the City of Urbana Need a Comprehensive Plan?
The City’s Comprehensive Plan is our community's vision for where we want to be in ten to twenty years. It is the long-range planning guide for our City, designed to direct future actions of the City. Included are the strategies to achieve the goals and objectives by which development, neighborhood, transportation, social, environmental and quality of life decisions are made.
Under the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/11-12-5), every Plan Commission and Planning Department is charged with preparing and recommending a Comprehensive Plan “for the present and future development or redevelopment of the municipality.” The Comprehensive Plan covers land within “the corporate limits, and contiguous territory not more than 1.5 miles beyond the corporate limits and not included in the municipality.” The Urbana Code of Ordinances (Chapter 18-Section 19) mirrors the Illinois Municipal Code and authorizes the Urbana Plan Commission to prepare and recommend a Comprehensive Plan to City Council.
Urbana’s current Comprehensive Plan was approved in 2005. Since that time, there has been an economic recession and more recently a pandemic, both of which had a wide ranging impact on our area. To ensure that our new Comprehensive Plan serves as a useful guide as we navigate the future, it must help the City withstand or recover quickly from changing conditions.
Does the Comprehensive Plan Impact Me?
- If you care about the sustainability of our natural resources and environment,
- If you care about walkable neighborhoods and neighborhood businesses,
- If you care about transportation for all ages and abilities,
- If you care about providing housing that is obtainable for anyone,
- If you care about Urbana’s arts and culture scene,
- If you care about entrepreneurship and business diversity,
- If you care about economic growth and jobs,
- If you care about the future of Urbana, the Urbana Comprehensive Plan impacts you!
The Comprehensive Plan is NOT…
X a document that regulates or controls the specific use or physical characteristics of private property.
X a neighborhood plan, but rather it is a community-wide plan.
X a rigid unchangeable document, but one that is regularly reviewed and amended as needed.
X the only guiding document for our City, but will incorporate existing approved plans such as the City’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Plans and Climate Action Plan.
X a Plan that sits on a shelf and is never implemented. It is an ever-present guide for making decisions that shape our City.
Who Has a Say in What is Included in the Comprehensive Plan?
YOU!! The Imagine Urbana Comprehensive Plan process involves extensive community engagement all along the way. Anyone who lives, works, visits or studies in Urbana has say in how our City moves forward. This community-wide conversation focuses on where we have been, where we are now, and where we want to be in the future. It is up to all of us to ensure the Plan is resilient and equitable!
What is the Process for Creating the Comprehensive Plan?
Urbana’s Executive and Community Development Services Departments are leading the process to gather community input, assess data, and develop recommendations about the many elements that make up our community. The City is working closely with community residents and partners to ensure key elements are addressed in the Plan. Every community is unique, but typical elements include: quality of life, local economy, housing, natural resources, land development, and transportation. Once Urbana’s key elements are identified from the first phase of community involvement, additional community engagement reviews existing conditions and establishes a vision, goals, objectives, and action items to improve each of these elements.
Who Writes the Comprehensive Plan?
Using the input and recommendations from the community, City staff prepares a draft Comprehensive Plan for review by the Urbana Plan Commission. A staff working group ensures that the Plan addresses City-wide needs and long-term goals. The draft is then shared with the community for review and the Plan refined for a final draft.
Who approves the Comprehensive Plan?
The Urbana Plan Commission reviews and prepares the final Comprehensive Plan and presents to the City Council. The Council then approves the Plan or approves it with changes.
What Happens After the Comprehensive Plan Is Approved?
The most important step is implementation.
Continuous review and progress monitoring of the Comprehensive Plan holds City staff, boards and commissions, and Council accountable to the community’s vision for the City. Annual reviews and revisions of ordinances and plans is considered a best practice. In addition to monitoring and updating the Plan, the following tools are vital to ensuring the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Plan:
- the Capital Improvement Plan and Annual Budget which allocate public expenditure on projects,
- community partners’ plans and programs, and
- ordinances & regulations that control development in the City.
How Do I Get Involved?
Email ImagineUrbana@UrbanaIllinois.us Let us know what elements of our community interest you most so that you can join conversations that brainstorm ideas to improve what is most important to you.
Be a champion in your neighborhood! Spread the word by getting your neighbors involved, host a discussion group in your neighborhood, or do both!
Attend and engage in community discussion groups on dates promoted on ImagineUrbana.com, the City’s website - UrbanaIllinois.us, the City’s Facebook page, and in area media.
Don’t miss out and risk not being pleased with the outcome --– engage now and help construct the city you believe we are, and should be!