Forty-nine people attended a Plan Commission Training workshop hosted by the Southwest Conference of Mayors on September 12, 2018 at the Orland Park Police Department. APA-IL, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute co-sponsored the training. Bob Sullivan, FAICP and Laurie Marston, FAICP were the trainers for the session which was the 91st since the chapter began the program in 2011.
Representatives of thirteen municipalities attended including Alsip, Blue Island, Chicago Ridge, Hickory Hills, Justice, Oak Lawn, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Willow Springs and Worth. Those attending included: forty-three members of Plan Commissions and Zoning Boards of Appeal, two Mayors, two Trustees, a City Clerk, and an Assistant Administrator.
On the anonymous evaluation forms, the commissioners listed the most helpful topics as: running a public hearing, ex parte contacts, standards of review, findings of fact, Open Meetings Act, the comprehensive plan, the zoning ordinance, plan implementation, regulating development, staff reports, roles of both the plan commission and the elected officials, and the responsibilities of the plan commissioners versus what items are not their responsibilities.
Other commissioners commented that the handout was informative and that they appreciated having their questions answered along the way and not having to wait until the end. Some of the questions were:
How do we enforce conditions that are included in the ordinance approving the case?
Should we evaluate whether a proposed annexation benefits the municipality?
Is spot zoning undesirable?
Are boundary agreements helpful?
What is CMAP’s authority and what is their relationship with the municipalities?
Can we obtain input from other departments, in addition to the Planning Department?