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home : braidwood journal : braidwood journal September 15, 2014

1/2/2013 3:08:00 AM
Zoning changes prepare Braidwood for future growth
Marney Simon
Staff writer

The city of Braidwood saw limited construction growth in 2012, but there were a handful of new homes added within the city limits.

The city issued 257 building permits in the past year. Those permits included four new homes, three of those in Shadow Lakes.

The total permits brought in $19,000 in fees for the city. The majority of permits were issued for re-roofing or re-siding work on residential homes.

The Braidwood Planning and Zoning Board, which plans for monthly meetings, only met four times in 2012. Other planned meetings were each canceled due to a lack of agenda items. However, the members of the board were still at work.

The board spent time making adjustments to the language of the zoning code in the ordinance book, a lengthy task which took several drafts before finally being approved by the council. Zoning chair Michelle Serena said the city's zoning map had not been updated in several years.

The board also expanded zoning districts and updated the zoning tables. The changes were necessary due to the 500-pus acres that were annexed in to the city limits at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012. The new land covers farm land at Interstate 55 and Reed Road, as well as smaller parcels on the city's north and west sides.

"With the annexations we have done this year, we needed to create outer lying [zoning classifications] to cover any growth in either commercial and/or residential," Serena noted. "We now have three classes under Business, three classes under Industrial, and we also created an Open Spaces class."

Serena said that the tables themselves needed a lot of work, and board members took a hard look at the old rules to see what needed to be added or taken away as far as specifics.

Serena said the board wanted to make sure that the town would benefit from these changes, so they kept the residents in mind during the re-vamp. The board is hopeful that the newly acquired land, now properly zoned for business, can help draw folks to town.

"With the development around us happening, I would hope we would see some influx in the future," said Serena. "With expanding our border over I-55 this could be a positive move for us."

As far as whether the town is headed toward any imminent growth on either a business or residential level, Serena said it is just a waiting game.

"With the economy the way it is now, I am not sure," Serena said. "Yes the economy is slowly turning around but I guess only time will tell."

The Braidwood Planning and Zoning Board meets the first Monday of the month at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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