Looking over the three options proposed as guidelines for the future development of St. Charles' West Gateway, Bill and Jane Ryan expressed a degree of satisfaction.
The Ryans were standing in the St. Charles City Council Chambers on Tuesday, looking over the latest evolution of a proposed comprehensive development plan for the city's future. They said they have been attending meetings and been staying involved in the process as the city maps outs a plan to guide it over the next 20 years. One issue they said was of great concern to themselves and other West Side residents was housing – some of the ideas presented early on had too much proposed for the Western Gateway area.
The three options presented at Tuesday night's open house to give residents a look at the review draft plans for downtown and the West Gateway/Randall Road area reflected that concern, the couple said.
None of the three Western Gateway options were perfect, but it was obvious to them that the concerns voiced by West Side residents such as themselves had been heard, and the development plan proposals had been adjusted accordingly.
Their comments are precisely the kind of reaction hoped for by Russell Colby, the city's planning division manager.
Mapping a comprehensive plan to guide the city's future development is a complicated task that touches so many aspects of the community – and of residents thoughts and cares about their city – that it is impossible to please everyone, Colby said. It is a collaborative effort that, in the end, will not meet every need or address every concern.
But, he said, the product should represent that collaboration – the idea that all voices were heard and played a role in shaping the plan.
“The comprehensive plan is the city plan for future city growth and development over a 20-year time frame,” Colby said. The plan that eventually is adopted by the St. Charles City Council will serve as a policy to guide city officials in making development decisions for the next two decades.
Compiling the plan is no easy task. The idea is to look at how the city should grow and change in specific areas over the coming 20 years, and there are numerous elements to consider, including residents' own views of preserving the city's character as St. Charles moves into the future.
For more information about the plan, visit the St. Charles Comprensive Plan Project website.