In line with the village’s vision for a more active business district, Kenilworth trustees agreed to loosen a series of development regulations during a meeting on Oct. 23.
The changes are meant to make the public process more efficient for developers with hopes of catalyzing a more vibrant and diverse commercial mix along Green Bay Road.
Notably, the Village is eliminating redundancy in its standards, which will allow officials to consider nonconforming uses, heights, parking requirements, density and more in the business district.
Additionally, the regulatory changes eliminate one round of necessary public hearings (a public hearing remains required for preliminary plans), allow trustees to attach conditions to approved plans and streamlines the review process by allowing for concurrent reviews.
According to Village documents, the amendments were spurred by a desire from officials and residents to see more activity along Green Bay Road. With feedback from the community, the Village set a vision for its Green Bay Road Corridor in 2022.
A community survey showed residents (86%) would like to see a community gathering space, such as a café. Additionally, 91 percent said the general appearance of the business corridor should “reflect the overall quality of our neighborhoods.”
Residents surveyed also said change is needed in Kenilworth. When asked if “the current mix of retail, dining, and services in the business corridor is ‘just right,’” 79 percent said they disagreed with that statement, with only 9 percent agreeing.
The survey also asked residents what type of businesses they would like to see in Kenilworth. Dining options received overwhelming support by the community, with top preferences being toward a café or coffee shop (91 percent), a restaurant (83.6 percent), a bakery (78.7 percent), a wine store or bar (64.6 percent), or a bodega or food market (63.4 percent).
A significant number of community members surveyed — 47 percent — also supported the idea of “offering high-end housing opportunities for residents who wish to downsize and remain in the Village.
In June, village trustees directed the plan commission to review Kenilworth’s planned unit development regulations, and after three meetings and a legal opinion, commissioners recommended in September a series of changes to the Village Board. The board confirmed those changes on Oct. 23.
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