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Thursday, August 22, 2013  
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"Growing for Kane"
Adopted by County Board
Kane County Continues its Award Winning Efforts in Agriculture-Based Planning

The Kane County Board adopted the "Growing for Kane" Ordinance on August 13, 2013. Kane County now has a local food ordinance to complement its well known farmland protection program. The adoption of this ordinance enables the design of new policies that will be part of the larger Growing for Kane Program. Program development will take place over the next year. 

Currently, only 0.5% (962 acres) of the County's 192,372 acres of farmland are grown for fresh fruits and vegetables. Approximately 84% (161,592 acres) of this farmland is corn and soybean production that is mostly distributed out of the county. This new program will help create more fruit, vegetable, meat and dairy production that will be distributed within the county and will help meet the increasing regional demand. While "Growing for Kane" will seek to increase the supply of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy; it will also stimulate demand for local foods by facilitating distribution to local schools, institutions, farmers markets, grocery stores and food panties. This new program will help address the county's growing obesity issues and low rates of fruit and vegetable consumption that affect health. The many ways this program will positively affect health are described in the Health Impact Assessment Executive Summary which can be viewed hereIn addition to improved health, the new program will have economic advantages.
The economic analysis was a joint effort completed by the American Farmland Trust and Dave Swenson, who is an agricultural research expert from Iowa State. The results of their analysis were positive, showing an increase in economic activity and job creation. The economic analysis showed that if the county increased its fruit and vegetable production by 1,000 acres, an additional $7 million annually would be added to the local economy. Additionally,103 jobs would be added in Kane County.

Questions or Comments? Contact Janice Hill (hilljanice@co.kane.il.us
or Jackie Forbes (forbesjackie@co.kane.il.us).
Metropolitan Planning Council Roundtable Event!! 
Bus Rapid Transit - Moving People and Driving Development
 September 11, Noon to 1:30 p.m.

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been leading the way in planning for Chicago's new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network. The MPC has analyzed the feasibility of BRT in Chicago and has determined that it will be both feasible and beneficial to the city. The 2011 BRT Report shows that BRT will offer the advantages of rail at a fraction of the cost and it will generate substantial new demand for both ridership and area development. The report has challenged and inspired city leaders, business owners and residents to rethink what transit can mean for Chicago. The MPC is inviting guests to discuss and learn more about planning for BRT at their Roundtable Event on Wednesday, September 11th from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm. Register here!!
The MPC's method of screening potential BRT routes in Chicago evaluated not only standard transportation metrics such as current ridership and travel time, but also quantified livability objectives such as improved access to undeserved areas and connections to jobs, schools, hospitals, libraries, stores and homes. The MPC is among the first to use livability as a guide for public investment. The report identified 10 potential BRT routes and led to the current plans to implement 16 miles of BRT on Ashland Ave. from Irving Park Rd. to 95th St.. Implementation will be phased, starting with 5 miles on Ashland Ave.. Engineering and environmental design is underway and currently the route and configuration of the BRT is being analyzed on a block by block basis. More information can be found on the Ashland Ave. BRT corridor here! There are also two Ashland Ave. BRT videos. To view the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA) video click here. To view the MPC video click here.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Mike Sullivan (sullivanmike@co.kane.il.us).
Bus Rapid Transit in Kane County
BRT Could be a Major Asset to the County Moving Forward 
The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) excitement that is gaining momentum in the Chicago region provides an opportunity to look at BRT planning efforts here in Kane County. Kane County has positioned itself at the forefront of BRT planning. The County recognizes the advantages of BRT and explored the challenges and potential benefits of this high quality transit service in the Randall / Orchard Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Feasibility Study.
The County's 2040 Plan estimates that there will be an additional 270,000 residents in the county by 2040 and outlines strategies that will minimize automobile dependence. The County's  2040 Long Range Transportation Plan projects that there will be severe traffic congestion by the year 2040, even after nearly $3 billion of arterial roadway projects, which is far in excess of available funding. The BRT feasibility study was not meant to be a specific design for a project, but rather a "what-if" examination of changes that would be needed in the corridor to support BRT and also an analysis of the potential benefits that could be expected from eventual implementation. To become feasible, the corridor would need to transition from its auto-dominated state to a pedestrian friendly, multi-modal corridor. The study showed that BRT service, accompanied with transit supportive land use development, could help reduce vehicle miles traveled per capita, increase transit ridership, increase the number of walking and biking trips, reduce land consumption (including surface area parking), decrease vehicle emissions, shorten trip lengths and positively impact community health.  Although BRT in Kane County is still a long way off, it is more than just a vision. It is an element of a comprehensive strategy for transforming land uses in the county that is being planned for by the Kane County Planning Cooperative. The long-range goal of BRT can be used to focus some of the county-wide growth into transit oriented developments near the BRT corridor. Critical next steps outlined in the Feasibility Study include:
  • Cultivating political and public partnerships to identify and promote supporting policies 
  • Conducting outreach to land owners and community members about the vision and necessary actions to achieve it
  • Identifying public investments in the transit system, pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, and station area developments, along with sources of funding
  • Codifying supporting policies in comprehensive plans and zoning codes as soon as possible to provide a roadmap for future development and retain options for station area development
  • Refining transit and roadway design as future land use decisions take shape
The future will present us with tremendous opportunities to reinvent our urban corridors. Realizing and planning for these opportunities today will make Kane County more sustainable and livable for future generations. 
Questions or comments? Contact Heidi Files (filesheidi@co.kane.il.us) or Mike Sullivan (sullivanmike@co.kane.il.us).

ComEd's Services Can Power Economic Development Efforts 
Power Company's Role in Attracting Businesses May Not be Fully Understood
ComEd's annual survey of municipal leaders revealed that awareness of the power company's economic development efforts, services and support for organizations is low. ComEd provides top-rated reliability and a range of innovative programs and services and can be looked at as an asset to northern Illinois municipalities, organizations and businesses. ComEd is strategically
partnering with state and regional development stakeholders to grow Illinois' dynamic business base. This fact sheet highlights key attributes regarding advantages of ComEd served locations. This information may be helpful when communicating with future business prospects.
ComEd has an extensive portfolio of energy efficiency programs that offer a variety of incentives to help businesses manage energy use and save money. Since 2008, ComEd customers have saved more than $125 million on electricity costs by taking advantage of these incentives. This year, more that $56 million in available incentives will allow customers to save money through efficient operations. 
A smarter electrical grid is coming to Illinois! Stay informed of the latest Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act news here.

The 2013 Energy Efficiency Expo is on September 10th! 
This Expo is an excellent place to get comprehensive information specific to businesses in northern Illinois. Attendees will benefit from exposure to different energy experts, seminars on new technologies, a variety of vendors and fresh ideas put into operation.
Questions? Email Brett Hanlon 


Kane County Planning Cooperative
Brett Hanlon, Land-Use Planner - (630) 232-3491 - hanlonbrett@co.kane.il.us or kcplancoop@co.kane.il.us