Highland News Leader

City approves new mixed use zoning areas

The portions of the Silver Lake shores are lined with the white rip-rap to help reduce erosion. The Highland City Council approved a grant application through the Madison County Sustainability Program. If approved, the city will be granted $13,300 for the project.
The portions of the Silver Lake shores are lined with the white rip-rap to help reduce erosion. The Highland City Council approved a grant application through the Madison County Sustainability Program. If approved, the city will be granted $13,300 for the project. mbraa@bnd.com

The City Council approved an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map and changes to the city’s zoning code. The amendments create a new zoning district labeled as “mixed-use.”

“It will give a little more flexibility on development,” City Manager Mark Latham said.

According to the Highland Building and Zoning Department, mixed-use zoning allows for a combination of residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or light industrial properties used to incorporate diversity in an area. The mixed-use designation is fairly new and was first introduced into the Comprehensive Plan during a 2013 update.

The map amendment for future mixed-use land was proposed for three properties located at the intersection of Frank Watson Parkway and Sportsman Road. It also recommends mixed-use should an interchange ever be approved by state and federal authorities at Illinois Route 160 and Interstate 70.

City officials said the future land use map was problematic in its prior form, because it showed residential properties adjoining industrial designations. The objective of the plan’s amendment is to insert a transitional buffer area between the residential and the industrial uses, as well as create an opportunity for commercial and mixed residential development because the area would become an attractive destination for these developments.

“There’s very few places in Madison County right now where people feel safe,” Latham said. “I think Highland is one of those areas where we will see some nice commercial and residential growth.”

According to the Combined Planning and Zoning Board the mixed use area is not intended to compete with the downtown area.

Other action

Grant sought for lake shoreline

The council approved the submission of an application for the Madison County Sustainability Program for a $13,300 grant at its meeting March 20.

The money would be used to help contain the silt and sediment problem at Old City Lake, something that has been on the mind of city officials for quite some time.

The funds will be used to improve 2,000 feet of shoreline by removing invasive tree species, adding filter fabric, applying rip-rap and regrading areas affected by heavy equipment during the rip-rap installation.

“We’re just expanding,” Latham said. “Anytime we can get funding to put shoreline stabilization, we do that.”

The city partnered with the Madison County Sustainability Program in 2015-2016 to help protect over 1,800 lineal feet of the shoreline and waterways within Silver Lake Park. Three-quarters of the Old City Lake shoreline is covered with filter fabric and rip-rap to reduce the silt and sediment deposited into the main body and reservoir. According to Latham, this plan is just an extension of past operations.

The total cost of the project is $18,100. The city will pay a matching cost of $4,800 to pay for labor costs.

Sewer plant up for award

During staff reports, Latham announced the Highland Water Reclamation Facility has been nominated for the Group One Plant of the Year Award.

According to a letter from the Illinois Association of Water Pollution Control Operations, the award indicates the facility’s “outstanding service” to water pollution control.

Latham said this is the third year the plant has been nominated. The winner of the award will be announced at a banquet April 26, 2017.

Cook named to IMEA executive board

Latham also announced Dan Cook, the city’s Light & Power director, has been voted into the executive board of the Illinois Municipal Electric Association.

IMEA is a not-for-profit unit of local government created in 1984 that is currently comprised of 32 municipal electric systems, including Highland, and one electric cooperative from all across Illinois. Each community owns and operates its own electric distribution system. Some operate local power generation plants. Other members of the IMEA in the metro-east include the cities of Breese, Mascoutah, Carlyle, Freeburg, Waterloo and Red Bud.

Appointment approved

The council approved Michealis’ nomination of Allison Brown for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission.

“I believe her background in health education and promotion, and fitness instruction will make her an excellent addition to this commission,” Michaelis said.

Brown will be replacing Jeremy Massa, who resigned from his position. Brown’s term will expire July 31, 2019.

Rezoning approved

The council approved a request from the Combined Planning and Zoning Board, which recommended a change in zoning for the Korte & Luitjohan Contractors property located at 12052 Highland Road. Jane E. Korte submitted an application for a map amendment. The request was to change the status of the property from a single-family residential to industrial.

Fair housing support

The council approved the resolution supporting fair housing in Highland. According to Latham, this is something the city supports every year to help prevent discriminatory acts and unlawful housing practices as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Network services approved

The council approved the renewal of the Highland Communication Services contract with the NTTC and Turner Networks.

The contract allows HCS to carry various channels like CNN, HLN, TNT, TBS, Toons, Classics, Boomerang and Tru TV. This also includes supplemental high definition channels for the previously listed programs.

According to Angela Imming, HCS director of technology and innovation, these programs are “wildly popular” and cable operators are expected to provide them.

Imming said the contract was negotiated with a reduction in rates that will save HCS 40 cents per subscriber per month.