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Sycamore aldermen split on updated comprehensive plan

Council vote set for Monday

Published: Monday, May 26, 2014 10:46 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Sycamore City Council members plan to vote at their next meeting on whether to approve the city’s newest comprehensive plan, but one alderman is not convinced the results were worth the investment.

Sycamore spent about $18,000 to update its comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 2008. In January, the city held workshops to ask residents how the city could improve its infrastructure and downtown area, among other things.

But 3rd Ward Alderman Steve Braser said at the last city council meeting that he disagreed with the updated plan.

“I’ve been through so many comprehensive plans, I don’t think anything new has been brought to the table,” Braser said. “I was hoping to see something with a little more meat in it than what was presented.”

City Council will vote on whether to approve the updated plan Monday.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory admitted that few changes were made to the plan. He said the goal will be to focus on what the city already offers, rather than creating big changes.

“We have to take care of what we have first,” Gregory said. “Let’s fill our vacancies before we concern ourselves with [new additions].”

Council approved a professional services contract in October with Wills Burke Kelsey and Associates to help with the plan update. The comprehensive plan serves as a guide to the physical, social and economic development of the community, city documents show.

The plan will be used for future planning and community decisions. It sets goals and objectives, and then details the process of obtaining those goals through land use standards, a downtown focus area and urban design guidelines, city documents show.

Some goals identified in the updated plan include preserving homegrown businesses, attracting more unique, independent small businesses and restaurants, adding residential housing to the upper floors of downtown buildings, keeping the penny parking meters and making downtown more bicycle friendly.

Other city council members found the plan necessary. First Ward Alderman Alan Bauer downplayed the funds spent for the updated plan, saying the city gives more money to the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce for economic development.

“Companies that want to come here want to know the city is well planned,” Bauer said. “This identifies clearly what we should be doing.”

Officials were all proud of the city’s penny meters, which were listed in the comprehensive plan as part of Sycamore’s identity.

“I would fight against getting rid of the meters simply because that’s the only place I can get rid of my pennies,” said 3rd Ward Alderman Greg Taylor.

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