In May, Mayor Langfelder, Alderman Joe McMenamin, Springfield ICON and several neighborhoods spoke against changes to the definition of Large Scale Development. Our goal was to limit urban sprawl, to support city planning, and to avoid having your city taxes spread over an even-larger area. Nevertheless, Springfield Aldermen voted 9-1 for a huge increase in the definition of the size of Large Scale Developments, in several cases, after having expressed concern themselves over the consequences.
As a result, many new developments that would have had public input and City Council review under the Large Scale Development process will now have NO public input before being approved.
See links at the bottom of this post for more information.
We had hoped the Mayor would veto the change, requiring a super-majority vote to override, but he did not. Instead, he has proposed an amendment that would require smaller-than-12-acre projects for storage areas and multi-family developments to participate in the Large Scale Development process. The Mayor proposed this because, in his experience, these are two of the types of development most concerning neighborhoods.
On Tuesday, June 20, the Springfield City Council will debate the Mayor’s amendment ordinance 2017-300.
ICON supports this ordinance because it is a step toward planning and oversight of new developments that affect neighborhoods:
- The change in the definition of Large Scale Developments to 12 acres eliminated the opportunity for public and neighborhood input on changes that could negatively affect our quality of life and property values.
- It encourages sprawl and obligates the City to maintain infrastructure and provide City services without public input or City Council oversight, increasing taxpayer costs at a time of limited tax revenues and cost-cutting.
- The change encourages development in areas not served by District 186 schools. Development within the boundaries of District 186 schools would support funding our city public schools.
- Other cities in central IL are evaluating the long-term costs of building out and deciding to limit sprawl as a long-term cost-saving strategy.
- Our Central Illinois peer cities: Quincy, Peoria, Decatur, Bloomington, Normal, Champaign, and Urbana have planning departments that either incorporate or pair the department with zoning and plan review and cover the same content as the Land Subdivision and Large Scale Development does here in Springfield.The change in the definition of Large Scale Developments to 12 acres eliminates the only effective planning process we currently have.