Comprehensive Land Use Plan Update
As a next step in moving toward a fully updated Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the City Council recently approved the Central Business District Chapter as recommended by an Adhoc Working Group and the Plan Commission after nearly a year of discussion and public input opportunities.
Some of the conclusions detailed in the Central Business District Chapter are summarized below.
- The Central Business District is sized appropriately and does not need to be expanded or reconfigured.
- The Core of the District must be preserved, protected and enhanced.
- Overall character is important - distinctive and uniquely Lake Forest.
- Retail alone can no longer be relied on to support the District, a mix of uses is necessary as is flexibility in order to sustain and build upon the vitality of the District over the long term.
- There are many strengths to build on, but there are also weaknesses and opportunities.
- The District is comprised of distinct and different areas: the Core (Market Square and the immediate surroundings), the Inner Ring (the blocks just beyond the Core), and the Neighborhood Business Areas (the commercial areas to the north and south on Western Avenue).
- City investment in infrastructure is critical to encouraging continued private investment in the Central Business District and critical in attracting new businesses and retaining existing businesses.
- Some buildings should be targeted for adaptive reuse and preserved, other sites may be appropriate for redevelopment.
- Returning multi-family residential options in and around the Central Business District will help support businesses and vitality during the day and in the evenings.
- Parking is critical to retaining and attracting new businesses, the City has a key role to play in assuring adequate and convenient parking.
- Transitions between the commercial areas and the surrounding residential neighborhoods need to be carefully considered to preserve and protect the residential neighborhoods.
The Council identified priorities for short term and longer term action: 1) Evaluating, maintaining, and upgrading infrastructure in the Central Business District, 2) Enhancing Bank Lane as a pedestrian corridor, 3) Planning pro-actively for some redevelopment in the Inner Ring. There will be opportunities for community engagement throughout the planning and implementation process.
Focus now shifts to updating the chapter of the Comprehensive Plan related to Housing. For updates and opportunities to be involved in the process, please visit the project website: LookingForwardLakeForest.org.