Comprehensive Plan

Comprehensive Planning Process

In December 1997, the Village selected a consultant team consisting of Trkla, Pettigrew, Allen & Payne, Inc. and McDonough Associates, Inc. to undertake an update of the Village's comprehensive plan. The planning process entailed a multi-phase program consisting of: 1) analyzing existing conditions, 2) identifying issues and concerns, 3) establishing an overall "vision" for community, 4) formulating goals and objectives, 5) preparing community-wide plans for land-use, transportation and community facilities, 6) developing and evaluating alternative plans and policies for key "target areas," and 7) preparing final plan and implementation recommendations. On October 11, 1999 the process was successfully completed with the passage of Ordinance 99-46 approving the Comprehensive Plan Update as the Village's official plan.

Purpose of the Comprehensive Plan

The comprehensive plan is Morton Grove's official policy guide for physical improvement and development. It considers not only the immediate needs and concerns of the community, but also projects improvement and development 10 to 15 years in the future.

The plan is "comprehensive" in both scope and coverage. It addresses the use of land and buildings, the movement of traffic and pedestrians, and the provision of parks, schools, utilities and other public facilities. It also addresses residential neighborhoods, commercial areas, industrial districts, public and institutional lands, and public rights-of-way.

The comprehensive plan establishes the ground rules for private improvement and development. It provides guidelines by which the Plan Commission and Village Board can review and evaluate private development proposals. The plan also provides a guide for public investments and capital improvements, and can help to ensure that local public dollars are spent wisely.

The comprehensive plan provides a basis for refining the zoning ordinance, subdivision regulations and other development codes, all of which are used to implement planning policies and recommendations.

Finally, the comprehensive plan serves as a marketing tool to promote Morton Grove's unique assets, and it can help to attract new families and desirable new investment and development to the community.

Issues and Concerns

The figure presented below summarizes the key planning and development issues addressed in Morton Grove's new comprehensive plan. This brief listing is based on investigations undertaken by the consultant, materials collected by Village staff, and discussions with the Comprehensive Plan Project Advisory Committee and representatives of various departments, service districts and institutions within the community. The list of issues also reflects the ideas and concerns voiced by local residents and businesspersons during the key person interviews and the community survey.

Community-Wide Plan

The Community-Wide Plan provides and overall framework for improvement and development within Morton Grove over the next 10 to 15 year period. It establishes long-range policies for key aspects of the Village consistent with the "vision statement" and community goals and objectives. The Plan strives to maintain and enhance the unique and distinguishing features of the community, improve and upgrade areas that are beginning to decline, and promote compatible new development and redevelopment in selected locations.

The Community-Wide Plan consists of three components: 1) land-use, 2) transportation, and 3) community facilities. Plan recommendations for each component are briefly highlighted in this section. More specific policies and recommendations for the various Plan components are presented in the Comprehensive Plan Update report available in the Community Development Department or at the Morton Grove Public Library.

The Community-Wide Plan is supplemented by more detailed recommendations for Morton Grove's four designated "target areas," which are identified in the section entitled "Introduction to the Target Area Plans."

Land Use Component

The Community-Wide Plan provides a guide for future land-use and development within the Village. It identifies which lands should be devoted to residential, commercial, industrial and public uses. It also describes how various land use areas should be related and interconnected, and highlights the types of projects and improvements to be undertaken within each area.

Since Morton Grove is primarily a built-up community with very little vacant land remaining, the plan builds upon the existing land use structure. The plan strives to reinforce and strengthen the strong existing residential character of the community. Low-density residential development should continue to predominate, and the distinctive qualities and characteristics of individual neighborhoods should be enhanced. Rehabilitation and environmental improvements should be undertaken to improve older residential areas. Dempster Street, Lincoln Avenue, Waukegan Road and Ferris Avenue should be upgraded as missed-use corridors, providing sites for new medium-density housing construction. High-density housing should continue to be limited to a few locations around the periphery of the Village.

Commercial uses should be located primarily along Dempster Street, Waukegan Road and, to a lesser extent, Lincoln Avenue and Golf Road. Existing commercial areas should be substantially improved and upgraded, and new investment and development should be aggressively promoted. Improvements should be made to existing buildings, parking lots and the public rights-of-way. Portions of the Village's commercial areas should also assume more of a "mixed-use" character in the future, with housing public and institutional uses intermixed with commercial activities. New transit-oriented development should be promoted.

Industrial uses should be limited to the areas south of Main Street and west of Austin, and to currently committed areas along Waukegan Road. Marginal industrial properties along the railroad north of Main Street should be removed to allow for new mixed-use residential and commercial development.

Transportation Component

Morton Grove's network of streets, highways and transit facilities should be maintained and expanded. While the roadway system is essentially in place, operational improvements should be undertaken as required to meet the needs of future development and redevelopment. The safe and convenient use of transportation corridors by pedestrians, cyclists, public transit vehicles and private vehicles should be emphasized. Traffic flow and traffic safety should be improved along Strategic Regional Arterials and other routes without disrupting or adversely impacting adjacent land development. Landscaping and other improvements should be undertaken to enhance the appearance of major roadways. New bike routes and pedestrian facilities should be developed and public transportation service improved.

Community Facilities Component

The Village should continue to offer its residents and business top quality community facilities and services.

The local parks and recreation system should be maintained as an important community asset. Existing parks should continue to be improved and upgraded as required. Opportunities to acquire vacant lots and set aside park sites as a part of new development projects, particularly in portions of the community that are currently underserved, should be explored. Additional cooperative agreements should be established between the Park District, the school districts and other organizations to increase the recreational opportunities available to local residents.

The Village should cooperate with public and private schools to ensure that high quality educational services continue to be available within the Village. Existing school facilities should be improved and upgraded as required. The Village should assume a leadership role in enhancing communication between public and private schools.

Other community facilities, including the Library, police station, the senior citizen center and public works facilities should be improved and enhanced, and should continue to be important assets of the community. Morton Grove's Village Hall should either be remodeled and expanded or a new facility should be constructed. The provision of new community facilities and services designed to help attract new families should be explored.

Implementation

The actions required to carry out the new Comprehensive Plan, including recommendations regarding zoning, financing and implementation, are presented in detail in Section 6 of the Comprehensive Plan Update report.

Introduction to the Target Area Plans

This section of the Comprehensive Plan Update report presents improvement and development recommendations for four key "Target Areas" within the Village of Morton Grove: 1) Dempster Street east of the Forest Preserve, 2) Lincoln Avenue, 3) the Ferris/Lehigh corridor, and 4) Waukegan Road south of Dempster.

Identification of Target Plans

The four Target Areas were selected by the Village for several reasons. They contain a diverse range of land uses and are among the most intensely developed portions of the community. The areas also include major transportation facilities which connect various destinations within Morton Grove and the surrounding region. The four areas are highly visible to passing motorists and transit patrons, and are primary determinants in how Morton Grove is perceived by residents and visitors alike. Each area has vacant and /or underutilized properties which may by subject to development or redevelopment in the future.

The four Target Areas include:

  1. Dempster Street, from the Edens Expressway west to the Forest Preserve, is a classic commercial corridor lined with small shops and businesses which has been experiencing some economic and physical decline in recent years. Dempster Street is a strategic regional arterial (SRA) under State jurisdiction and it carries a significant amount traffic. Lincoln Avenue, from Central Avenue west to Ferris Avenue, is an attractive mixed-use area which encompasses the historic heart of Morton Grove.
  2. Lincoln Avenue, has been the site of several recent residential developments and has other remaining land parcels that may be subject to redevelopment in the future.
  3. The Lehigh Avenue/Ferris Avenue Corridor from Dempster Street south to Elm Street contains a diverse mix of residential, commercial and industrial uses, some of which are characterized by deterioration and underutilization. This area also includes the Metra commuter rail station. Because of the age and condition of many properties, it is expected that this area will be the site of major redevelopment in the future.
  4. The Waukegan Road Corridor from Dempster Street south to Caldwell Avenue is a mixed-use commercial, residential and industrial area that has a few vacant and underutilized properties that may be subject to redevelopment in the future. Waukegan Road is a strategic regional arterial (SAR) under State jurisdiction and it carries a significant amount of traffic.

A detailed discussion of each target area, its problems and its potentials are included in Section 5 of the Comprehensive Plan Update report.

Implementation Action Agenda

The comprehensive plan sets forth an agreed-upon "road map" for community improvement and development within the Village of Morton Grove during the next ten to fifteen years. It is the product of considerable effort on the part of the Comprehensive Plan Project Advisory Committee, Village staff, the Planning Commission and the Village Board and represents the consensus of all involved. In many ways, the planning process in Morton Grove has just begun. Formal adoption of the comprehensive plan was only the first step, not the last. Without continuing action to implement plan recommendations, the Village's efforts will have little lasting impact.

Overview of the Action Agenda

The Action Agenda highlights the implementations aspects of the plan's major improvement and development recommendations. The Action Agenda consists of several components:

  1. A listing of major projects and actions that should be undertaken to maintain, enhance and improve the Village in the future;
  2. The suggested priority of each project, based upon a 15-year "horizon" and three implementation phases;
  3. An indication of the public and private sector responsibilities for initiating and participating in each project; and
  4. A suggestion of the funding sources and assistance programs that might be available for implementing key projects.

Projects and Actions

The Action Agenda provides a summary of the major improvements and development recommendations of the new comprehensive plan. Recommendations are grouped into eight categories: a) administrative actions, b) land use and development, c) Dempster Street Target Area, d) Lincoln Avenue Target Area, e) Lehigh/Ferris Target Area, f) Waukegan Road Target Area, g) community facilities, and h) other improvements.

It should be emphasized that the recommendations presented in this section of the Comprehensive Plan Update report are summarized, and other sections of the report provide more detailed descriptions of the various plan and policy recommendations.

Priority and Schedule

The comprehensive plan provides a long-rang program for community-wide improvements within Morton Grove. The plan cannot be accomplished all at once; projects and actions will have to be scheduled over a period of years. Consequently, the Action Agenda suggests a 15-year "horizon" for completion of the plan, but strongly encourages that the listing of projects and the priorities be reviewed and updated at least twice a year.

The Action Agenda suggests three priority phases for project implementation:

  • Priority 1 projects should be undertaken within the next five years.
  • Priority 2 projects should be undertaken during the next five to ten years, although some may actually begin immediately.
  • Priority 3 projects should be undertaken during the next ten to fifteen-year period.

The implementation schedule must be considered flexible, and should be modified and updated to reflect changing needs, conditions and preferences. Some projects may either move forward or backward, depending on changes in market conditions, funding sources of local priorities.

Comprehensive Plan Update Reference Materials

The information presented above provides a very limited discussion of the analyses and recommendations developed as a part of the Comprehensive Plan Update process. The Comprehensive Plan Update report is available for public review by in the Community Development Department office in the Flickinger Municipal Center or in the Morton Grove Public Library or by clicking here for part 1 (12mb) and part 2 (9mb). Copies of the Comprehensive Plan Update report may also be purchased in the Community Development Department.