The year 2030 may be another 20 years away, but a Naperville committee of professionals and citizens is already laying out a blueprint for growth. The plan, an update of the 2000 plan, would push downtown’s northern and western borders.
Under the Naperville Downtown 2030 Plan, some residential areas could become a part of downtown. City planners and other community members have been drafting the plan for the last 15 months, with an eye toward expansion.
“What we’re recognizing with the area is the potential for development to the north, and we want to be proactive with our land use opportunities that would exist in that area,” said Amy Every, a Community Planner with the City of Naperville.
Authors of the plan specifically cite the land from Benton Avenue to Douglas Avenue, between Washington Street and Webster Street, as an ideal area for expansion. It would become the new northern edge of downtown, and could be used for residential, commercial, or cultural uses. Not all Naperville residents are happy with the idea. Members of the Naperville Homeowners Confederation fear the expansion would cause safety issues at Washington Junior High School.
“Keep the intensity of the use at least a block away, keep the traffic a block away, so parents can get their kids to school and back safely,” said Thom Higgins, member of the Naperville Homeowners Confederation.
The new 2030 plan would also push downtown’s western borders to Mill Street. It would allow zoning changes, meaning homes could be converted to condominiums or office space.
“To have home offices in that area is going to completely destroy the integrity of the neighborhood, and I just think that we need to protect our neighborhoods in downtown Naperville,” said Veronica Porter, a Naperville Resident.
The idea of an expanding downtown leaves some residents fearing congestion and parking problems.
The next step is for the Downtown Advisory Commission to meet with City Council to discuss the proposed Naperville Downtown 2030 Plan. That meeting is set for November 8, 2010.
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