Wilmette to focus on housing, commercial development in 2023 – Chicago Tribune

Housing and commercial development and an update to the village’s general plan are highlights of Willamette’s 2023 agenda, officials said.

At the Jan. 24 village board meeting, Village Manager Mike Bryman predicted initiatives and projects that could be focused on as the year progresses.

In May or June, the village is set to hold a public meeting regarding the village’s overall plan.

Breman predicts the village’s housing plan will be reviewed at the Housing Commission meeting in February or March in conjunction with the hiring of a consultant.

It was unclear when this review would be completed.

“We want to go through that process and be methodical and invite the public to provide input,” Breman said.

Breiman said village staff plans to share updated work for the proposed WiFire department store in Eden Plaza, which is now slated to open in early 2024, as well as the renovation of the Plaza del Lago shopping center on Sheridan Road.

Also in March, the village’s intergovernmental committee is set to hold the first of four meetings focused on mental health needs in the community. That same month, the Willamette Energy and Environmental Protection Commission will review a recent report on the use of gas-fired wind turbines. Their input will likely go to the Village Board for further review and consideration of policy changes.

Breman estimates the village’s Historic Preservation Commission will work to begin a historic preservation plan in the third quarter.

“This is a new idea or concept for our community and our intent is not to start dictating or controlling how new construction is built or designed,” Breiman said. But it is looking at incentives or ways to encourage the maintenance of existing structures.

Village staff plans to address water quality issues with inventory of existing water services.

At the end of the year, Breman said, a study will be presented to the Municipal Services Committee on the “perpetual chemicals” found in Lake Michigan’s PFAS from the village’s treated water supply. Along with the PFAS removal, staff will notify the village of the number of lead service lines in the village as it moves toward replacing lead service lines per state law.

Efforts will begin to rebuild the village police station, which still needs a new location. The village will have a new station to be completed by 2026, Breiman said.

Other considerations given its proximity to the south shore of the Willamette include the possibility of a new stadium on the site of Evanston’s Ryan Field.

Braiman also said there may be some planned room developments, especially on Green Bay Road, and there is a potential special use permit in the building where the “Caddyshack” themed restaurant could not be realized in the 200 Skokie Boulevard building.

However, after the meeting, he said there was nothing to do.

The village is awaiting applications from Loyola Academy to use lighting at their football field at the intersection of Lake and Laramie streets. A similar lighting request is expected from the Willamette Park District at West Park for their paddle tennis facility.

“This seems like a very big plan, especially in the first quarter,” Village President Centa Plunkett said.

Breman cautioned that the expected dates are tentative and subject to change.

Daniel I. Dorfman is a freelance reporter with Pioneer Press.

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