Oak Park will likely update its Comprehensive Plan next year, taking a fresh look at the document used as a road map on all manner of local issues. In a planning meeting last week, the village board asked Village Planner Craig Failor to explore options for how the document might best be updated. Given staffing cuts which have reduced the planning department to just Failor, an outside consulting firm will likely be retained to oversee the project.

Trustees lauded the 1990 update of the Plan as a working document which has guided decisions on many planning issues. They also asked that a range of interim planning documents be incorporated into the next version of the comprehensive plan.

Failor called a comprehensive plan “a working, evolving document that helps the community map out its future and understand where it’s headed in the decades to come.”

The 1990 plan has long been due for an overhaul, said Failor. And the village board agreed at a meeting last week that it was time to get rolling on the new plan.

“It is a remarkable document, and it is remarkable that it has stood so many years because it was so well done,” said Trustee Colette Lueck at a meeting last week. She later added, “If you don’t redo the comprehensive plan, you have a planning process that refers to an antiquated document, which I think is problematic.”

Oak Park has a plethora of plans already, and trustees asked that they be incorporated as part of the process for developing a new comprehensive plan for the village.

Back in 1990, the comprehensive plan was developed largely by village staff and committees. But Oak Park’s planning department has been reduced to only one person, and the village will likely need to hire a consultant to lead the process of updating the plan.

The village board asked Failor to figure out what it will take to get the plan updated starting in 2011, asking that he report back by April. He suspects the village will eventually issue a request for proposals to find the right consulting firm. Failor estimated that an update would likely cost somewhere between $150,000 and $300,000.

Failor expects that the new plan could address issues that aren’t in the previous one, such as sustainability. The 1990 version is still useful, and will likely be a good starting point.

“There’s some great policy statements in it, some good direction in it, it just needs to be refreshed and updated,” Failor said.

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