Wilmette, News

Wilmette trustees hear about land use focuses in comprehensive plan

The Village of Wilmette’s long-awaited comprehensive plan continues in development, and trustees received an update at their March 12 meeting.

Michael Blue, with Teska Associates, the consulting firm tasked with guiding the Village’s comprehensive plan, shared the latest information gathered from community feedback and meetings with Wilmette’s boards and commissions.

While the comprehensive plan has not yet been approved by trustees, Blue’s presentation highlighted the work that has gone into it so far, including focusing on a number of recommendations in different categories: community character, sustainability, active transportation, diversity and inclusion, and land use.

Blue spent time talking about land use and specifically different “subareas” of the Village. He discussed Ridge Road, which houses many vacant storefront including the long-vacant former Treasure Island space. He suggested rezoning the area to allow for multi-unit developments, adding that the Village might consider pursuing a mixed-use redevelopment at the Treasure Island site.

“It’s an opportunity to increase residential uses for the area,” he said.

Other subareas highlighted included Linden Square and the Village Center.

During the trustees’ discussion, Kennedy said she was concerned about the limited focus on west Wilmette, pointing out that all the subareas were located in the eastern side of town.

“The west side of the Village is not represented very much in this plan visually, which makes it seem as if it doesn’t exist,” she said. “There are no subareas over there that get the kind of concentration, attention that they do on the east side.”

Village President Senta Plunkett disagreed with Kennedy’s assessment, and said the plan does talk about the west side of the Village. Specifically, she highlighted Westlake Plaza, Edens Plaza and recent discussions on potential tenants for the former Baker’s Square location as developments for the west side of town.

“I think our focus has been significantly on the subareas on the west side and I think this plan was focusing on areas that needed attention, like the Ridge Road corridor and Linden Square corridor where we don’t know what’s going to happen there,” Plunkett said. “But I think we’ve got a really good idea of what’s happening, at least in Edens Plaza, Westlake Plaza, and hopefully along Skokie Blvd.”

The comprehensive plan is expected to come up for a vote for final approval at a future board meeting.

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Peter Kaspari

Peter Kaspari is a blogger and a freelance reporter. A 10-year veteran of journalism, he has written for newspapers in both Iowa and Illinois, including spending multiple years covering crime and courts. Most recently, he served as the editor for The Lake Forest Leader. Peter is also a longtime resident of Wilmette and New Trier High School alumnus.

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