Probably the toughest decision I have had to make on my four years service on the Peoria County Board was my vote to deny the Racetrack to be built on prime farmland west of Brimfield. My decision was based on the following criteria:
The unanimous denial by the Peoria County Board of Appeals.
The denial by a 5-1 vote of the Peoria County Land Use Committee.
Illinois House Smart Growth Task Force Findings and Recommendations dated 1/12/99, Final Report.
2002 Household Survey Findings on Behalf of Peoria County (Bradley University, Dr. Bernie Goitien).
Growth Policy and Strategic Survey Results, Peoria County Comprehensive Plans (1992, 1996, and 2003).
A study by the Pew Foundation in 1993 called “Making Community Coalitions Work”.
Strong opposition of residents within a 21/2 mile radius of the proposed site.
The racetrack would be built on some of the best farmland in the United States.
Over 100 articles I have read on controlled growth plus five books on the same subject.
Various meetings I have attended dealing with controlled growth and community planning.
Heartland Partnership, which is over the Tri-County Economic Development Council and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce originally endorsed this project but backed off this position in a letter addressed to the Peoria County Planning and Zoning Board on June 2, 2004 and signed by the Partnership’s President.
The Peoria County Board Strategic Growth Plan calls for expansion within the urban area before using up more flat farmland. During my service on the County Board, no subdivisions or apartment building have taken place on land within the jurisdiction of Peoria County. The recent move outward is on land annexed by the City of Peoria. Peoria County has no control over what is built in the City of Peoria. The city has the power to keep annexing. The city has actually lost population while greatly expanding the number of square miles requiring public service. This suburban push has financially strained the city,(TIF Zones, tax abatements and other financial incentives) the county, school districts and sanitary district services.
Planning for controlled growth in Peoria County takes total cooperation of coalitions of governmental bodies, the public, and private enterprise. Planning and cooperation among all concerned entities will bring tax dollars into Peoria County.
I wish Mr.Hellyer eventual success in his endeavors.