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Kane County considers partnering with planning group on housing plan

The Kane County Board is considering a partnership with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to develop a plan to improve the diversity of housing in the county.

The Kane County Housing Ready Plan would study the amount of housing in the county, offering suggestions for the county and its towns to make sure there is enough attainable housing in the area, according to Mark VanKerkhoff, director of the Kane County Development and Community Services Department.

He said the county approached the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) about creating a plan because the county has a lack of affordable workforce housing.

“It’s a nationwide problem, it’s a regional problem and it’s a Kane County issue,” VanKerkhoff said.

He spoke about the proposed plan at the Kane County Development Committee meeting on Feb. 20.

After the resolution to develop the plan passed that committee, it went to the Kane County Executive Committee on Wednesday, which unanimously voted to put it on the Kane County Board’s March 12 meeting agenda.

At the Feb. 20 Kane County Development Committee meeting, Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog said she was in “full support” of the proposed plan.

If approved by the board, CMAP employees would work with the Kane County Development and Community Services Department to develop the plan. CMAP would not ask the county to put any funds forward for the project, and the only cost to the county would be staff’s time working on the plan, according to VanKerkhoff.

He said no additional staff would be needed because of the partnership.

According to a project charter given to the county by CMAP, the plan is intended to teach the communities in Kane County how to access and properly use funds provided by the state government, county government and other organizations to improve their housing stock.

The plan would also give suggestions on land use and zoning to these communities and the county itself, the project charter says. These suggestions would look to encourage affordable housing development, redevelopment or special zones designed around transit or workplaces.

However, before any suggestions are made, CMAP and Kane County staff would study the current conditions of the housing market in the county and the feasibility of new residential development types.

According to VanKerkhoff, CMAP plans to do similar plans with other counties in the region and is using Kane County as a pilot program.

rsmith@chicagotribune.com