Under the Microscope: Winnetka Downtown Development Regulations Receive Insightful Review

News, Outreach

Winnetka’s land use and development regulations were the focus of Tuesday evening’s Steering Committee meeting. From zoning and design review to the overlay, special uses and beyond. Michael Blue with Teska opened the discussion by asking a series of questions relating to the primary topic areas:

• What alternatives to current zoning procedures might be considered?

• How does the intent and application of the overlay district reflect the vision statements?

• What elements are most important to consider as part of the design review process?

• What type of administrative approval for some building elements (signs, awnings, etc.) would be appropriate?

All members took part in a productive and thorough 2-hour conversation that resulted in the following findings and considerations for next steps / plan actions. Scroll down to see idea boards showcasing talking points in greater detail.

1. Zoning standards for project consideration need to be simplified and provide greater clarity to ensure efficiency by the review committee and predictability for developers.

2. The review process has been made more efficient for by-right uses, but the special use process needs to be reviewed and updated.

3. The Special Use List should be revised to align with the business district vision statements, i.e. uses that generate positive activity and foot traffic during the daytime, evening hours and on weekends should be permitted (example: physical fitness studios).

4. Consider refining the use lists to include both “special” and “conditional” use categories. Conditional uses would be required without a formal hearing, but include predetermined limits on the use to mitigate potential impacts on others.

5. Design review should be simplified and allow for administrative review of certain applications (example: blade signs) to provide greater efficiency.

6. Training should be provided to commission members on their mission, responsibilities, code standards and meeting procedures.

What do you think about Winnetka’s land use and development regulations? Have ideas on ways to make them better? Click here to share! 


Steering Committee Idea Boards