January 23, 2020

New Plan Commission Procedures Will Improve Transparency, Enhance Public Comment and Input

Procedural changes announced today by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will improve transparency and provide additional public comment opportunities for projects seeking Plan Commission approval.

The improvements are part of ongoing transparency initiatives being implemented under Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot to ensure large development projects are appropriately reviewed by community stakeholders in advance of Plan Commission and City Council consideration

“These new procedures represent an important step forward in driving inclusive growth that supports the needs of our neighborhood residents, families, and small businesses by leveling the playing field, allowing for greater public input, and ensuring future development is conducted through an open and transparent process,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “Going forward, I am excited to continue to work closely with City officials, business leaders, and community stakeholders as we advance new ways to create thriving neighborhoods and opportunity for every part of Chicago.”

Starting in February, DPD will make all Planned Development (PD) applications available on the Plan Commission website at least 15 days before a project’s public hearing. Each project’s presentation materials will also be posted three business days prior to the hearing.

PDs are large development projects that are reviewed by Plan Commission and forwarded to City Council with a recommendation to approve or deny the proposal.

Currently, PD presentations are not provided to the public prior to a Plan Commission meeting and applications are located in multiple locations on the City Clerk’s web site.

“These enhancements will help the public to provide input on development proposals well in advance of a hearing,” said Plan Commission Chairman Teresa Cordova. “It’s important that all Chicagoans have the opportunity to provide comments, particularly since personal obligations may prevent some from attending each hearing.”

Additionally, a dedicated Plan Commission email address — CPC@cityofchicago.org — will accept written public comments up to 24 hours in advance of a hearing. These comments will be shared with Plan Commissioners for consideration.

The public hearing format will also be revised. Starting in February, PD applicants will perform their own presentations to the Commission and DPD staff will provide a contextual overview and formal recommendation. Currently, DPD staff perform the presentations and developers answer questions, as needed.

New development guidelines announced last fall by Chairman Cordova for so-called “mega developments” continue to be refined by DPD staff based on public comments. Final Master Planned Development guidelines are expected to be adopted by the Plan Commission in the spring.

The Chicago Plan Commission was founded in 1909 to implement the Burnham Plan for Chicago. Its members include six aldermen, six department heads, and 10 members appointed by the mayor and confirmed by City Council. Staff services are provided by DPD, the principal planning agency of the City of Chicago.

The Chicago Plan Commission website is available at chicago.gov/cpc.

 

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