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2013 Downtown Master Plan Update (DTMP)


It simply asks the question “if we set aside the obstacles, what do we want to be?  Where do we want to go?”  The end result, the plan, becomes a guide for day to day decisions, to be sure that limited and precious resources (time, budget dollars and staff time) are aligned with a shared goal.  Ideally, it eliminates duplicate efforts and a waste of resources.

The master plan for our downtown is just that.  A guide for future decisions.  Some of the things the community prioritized that were built into the plan were the concepts of services for local residents, safety, pedestrian circulation, vibrant, self-sustaining and to include pleasant spaces.  A master planning committee, made up of more than 20 residents with input from the wider community, reviewed, analyzed and developed a proposed update to the 2006 Downtown Master Plan. Their recommended was submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals/Plan Commission  (ZBA/PC) for public hearing review in June 2014.

On June 26, July 17, and August 21, 2014, the Zoning Board of Appeals/Plan Commission conducted public hearings for the proposed update to the Downtown Master Plan. More information about the these meetings are provided below. On August 21, the ZBA/PC recommended that the Village Board of Trustees adopt the proposed update to the Downtown Master Plan. The Village Board will be asked to consider the ZBA/PC's recommendation in September 2014. A summary of the approved recommendation is provided below (ZBA/PC recommended changes are noted via strikeout & insert):


The Plan should encourage downtown public and private investment provided that such investment protects or creates evolving/gradual change, small town charm, more retail choices, unique draw or destination, services for local residents, a family friendly atmosphere, safe pedestrian circulation, and active living with photogenic, vibrant, progressive/self-sustaining pleasant spaces.



  • Properties under-utilized and under-developed
  • Buildings and properties in need of basic maintenance
  • Limited day-time traffic and customer base
  • Inadequate Parking
  • Festival Street attractions have been a successful draw
  • There is limited space for community gathering/activities
  • Potential retail development struggles to compete with existing rents and property values
  • Grandfathered service uses remain on S Prospect Av despite ordinance prohibition
  • Public properties are a large component of the Downtown


  • Adopt the Land Use Concepts map [link]
  • Develop‚Äč Consider a Multipurpose Community Center at the train station property and designate the Village Hall, Library and Post Office properties for single use development as depicted on the Land Use Concepts Map. [In addition to including this concept on the Land Use Concept map, the DTMP update will recommend that the Village conduct financial and space analysis to determine the feasibility of such a facility. [The purposes for considering such a facility it to develop a destination use/building in the center of the downtown without relying on or being beholden to a private developer, and to convert the once public lands into developments that contribute financially (taxes) and economically (customers) to the Village and the downtown.]
  • Revise the Zoning Ordinance to changing acceptable prohibited uses to special uses
  • Revise the Village’s plan unit development provisions to allow for four and five story buildings as illustrated in the proposed Land Use Concepts map.
  • Conduct a parking study that determines methods to meet downtown parking needs through public, private and shared parking.
  • Rezone the property east of the Burlington Avenue water tower from I-Industrial to B-2 Commercial Business District.
  • Improve pedestrian crossing at BNSF and S Prospect Avenue.
  • Develop public plazas for public gathering/activities at Central Plaza, Golf and Burlington Avenues, Park/Walker, and a linear park along the BNSF RR to accommodate regional bikeway and public art corridor through the community/downtown.
  • Amend Ordinances: special uses, parking, and building height, consistent with these initiatives.



  • The 2001 Downtown Design Review Guidelines need to be updated to better address signage, outdoor display and single-use buildings.
  • The Downtown needs a common marketing theme or brand via signage, public art, streetscape furnishings, etc.
  • The Downtown lacks parks and open space for passive recreation (i.e. walking, bicycling and gathering).
  • The Downtown lacks formal pedestrian and bikeway connections to adjoining neighborhoods and adjacent communities.
  • The Village has the opportunity to set a positive example with the redevelopment of public properties.
  • The redevelopment of public and private properties provides opportunity to create private and adjoining public spaces and plazas.
  • The redevelopment of public and private properties provides opportunity to restore natural elements once found in the downtown (creeks, gardens, etc).


  • Adopt the Design Concepts map [link]
  • Update the Downtown Design Review Guidelines to better address current development and marketing needs and be supportive of the ideas depicted in the downtown design concepts map. The revised downtown guidelines should be accessible via the village website with up-to-date images and photograph examples.
  • Develop a branding program that creates a modern sense of place through design of public gathering spaces and architectural design.
  • Create linear parks and plazas north and south of the BNSF railroad to create festival streets for community events and passive social gathering by residents and downtown visitors.
  • Improve safe pedestrian access to the transit by improving pedestrian crossings over streets and the BNSF railroad at S Prospect Avenue.
  • Redesign and reconstruct Rail Road Avenue to improve pedestrian streetscape along its south side and to improve the commercial viability of its adjacent properties.



The Economic Development Subcommittee early on identified the challenges of maintaining a sustainable downtown business community with limited vehicular access. Although the Metra Commuter Station is a strong asset to the downtown community, its design does not attract enough customer traffic to support downtown business; at least not in its current configuration. This theory was confirmed through a group of studies including a GAP analysis, local residents surveys, downtown businesses surveys, property Owner Interviews, and comments heard at an economic development panel discussion held on February 5th, 2014.

In addition, Ehlers Inc. conducted an economic development analysis in July and August 2014, and reported the following: 1) Providing a strong local customer base is essential to maintain and grow a sustainable downtown business environment; 2) Increased building heights can yield incremental cost savings for development; 3) Parking costs are a significant portion of development projects; and 4) More taxable development resulting from building height equals more public revenues. (click here to review final report)


  • The images and text contained in the DTMP must provide flexibility for the market place without hampering the Village’s efforts to maintain its vision for the downtown. Unlike the 2006 DTMP, the updated DTMP should not provide specifics that will otherwise be refined during the development entitlement process. Buildings have a single use designation described in the updated DTMP should be able to accommodate residential or office; buildings having a mixed use designation should be able to provide the same flexibility above the first floor.
  • The addition of additional public gathering spaces should be developed north and south of the BNSF rail road to reinforce the downtown as a community and area-wide destination. These spaces should be designed to accommodate active and passive activities, for example: public art parks, pedestrian/bikeways, festival streets/street-markets.
  • Creation of an Economic Development/DTMP Implementation Committee to facilitate the continued engagement of existing property and business Owners; development of better signage along Ogden, 55th, and Route 83/use of Village social media efforts to promote business; to oversee the development of a Downtown brand/identify.
  • Conduct a traffic and economic impact study on Downtown Clarendon Hills to better understand the potential results of fully-opening the intersections of Middaugh Rd. and Ogden Ave. and/or Coe Rd. and Ogden Ave., as well as making improvements to Oxford Avenue in order to facilitate access to the downtown from Ogden Ave.
  • Conduct a parking study to determine the downtown’s parking needs and capacity if the maximum based on the proposed land use plan. Any such study should also consider how parking could be phased along with the evolution and phasing of downtown development.
  • Conduct a space needs analysis to determine the physical, parking, and financial feasibility of the proposed community center concept.
  • Maintain 3-story building heights unless the Village, through further study can determine that taller buildings are needed and are financially feasible to the developer and, more importantly, the Village. This analysis would determine how large a structure would need to be in order to be economically feasible under today’s market conditions and rent levels in downtown Clarendon Hills to educate decision makers about today’s realities.


  • Write-Down of sale price of Village owned property
  • Special Service Area(s)
  • Tax Increment Financing district
  • Sale Tax Rebates
  • Long-term Lease Hold agreements with private entities
  • Bond Offerings

Note: Use of taxpayer dollars to support development should only be considered as a last resort.


Upcoming Meetings

  • none

Committee Links

Project Links

Clarendon Hills Middle School Project

Related Links to Local Media & Press Releases