LAND USE GOALS, STRATEGIES AND POLICIES
The Land Use Plan goals are the foundation of the Plan from which policy directives are developed. The policies are then used to implement the goals through ordinances, regulations, laws, and education. The goals recognize the need to obtain a balance between accommodating a broad range of human activities, quality of life, and preserving the environment and natural resources. The main objective of the Land Use Plan is to encourage orderly growth in areas immediately adjacent to subdivisions or municipalities, while at the same time preserving contiguous agricultural areas and large open spaces.
- Agricultural uses.
Maintain where possible a wide variety of agricultural uses within the Township and avoid conflicts between agriculture and other potential uses of the land.
- Natural Resources.
Protect and restore prime agricultural soils, groundwater, wetlands, woodlands, natural areas, fish and wildlife habitat, threatened and endangered species, and the water quality of the township’s rivers, ponds and streams. Prevent dramatic grade changes and draining or excavation of natural springs and potholes. Encourage renewal of oak, hickory and maple woodstands. Also to encourage the preservation of other natural resources within Seneca Township.
- Historic and cultural features.
Protect historic, unique and cultural features in the township, including early settlements, cemeteries, farmsteads, buildings, bridges, native woodlands and other remnants of native vegetation. Encourage creative reuse of existing structures.
- Economic development.
Allow commercial, light industrial and recreations development within the Township that maintains or enhances the rural character of the area, diversifies the property tax base, and does not put a burden on township roads or services.
- Transportation systems. Maintain the smooth flow of traffic on major arterial and township roads, prevent new highways or roadways that encourage premature development, and encourage developmental of alternative forms of transportation such as bicycle trails and equestrian trails.
- Drainage systems.
Maintain existing drainage systems and properly manage storm water to avoid damaging, overloading or clogging natural and artificial waterways.
- Residential development.
Protect the rural character of the Township and the county. Plan developments in areas where such developments would not adversely impact quality of life or natural resources.
- Fiscal responsibility.
Assure that new developments does not place an undue burden on roads, public services, schools and taxpayers in the Township.
- Intergovernmental cooperation.
Pursue intergovernmental coordination and communication with other public and private agencies and organizations involved with planning for the use of land in the Township, including the county, other townships, municipalities, regional planning commission and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
- Unique features.
Maintain the unique features and special character of Seneca Township. The unique features include the following:
- Rural vistas
- Prairie, fens and other natural features
- No heavy industry
- No conspicuous lighted signage
- Headwaters of the Kishwaukee River and other streams and waterways
Seneca Township is a unique area made up of mostly agricultural land and rural land uses. This Plan calls for the maintenance and enhancement of its existing character. The Township does not currently have a Primary Urban Center, Primary Rural Center, or a Secondary Node. The majority of future development should be located in the established municipalities of Woodstock, Marengo and Union.
- Specific Land Use Policy Directives
- General Planning Policy Directives
- Avoid impairing existing agricultural uses.
- Adhere to the maximum extent possible with any recommendations provided by the McHenry County Soil & Water Conservation District in any Natural Resources Inventory Report prepared for the particular parcel of property.
- Adhere to any watershed protection recommendations in the Kishwaukee River Watershed Plan.
- Avoid impacts to existing streams, wetlands, ponds, or prairie remnants, which do not result in a demonstrable environment enhancement of the impacted re-source.
- Avoid development within mature oak or hickory woodlands or require property forestry management.
- Provide an ecologically appropriate buffer strip between any portions of a given parcel to be developed and any existing streams, wetlands and ponds.
- Incorporate any and all State of Illinois practices related to storm water management, surface and groundwater protection, soil erosion and sediment control, and non-point pollution control.
- Minimize grading impacts to the existing topography.
- Minimize visual impacts to the natural and rural vistas of Seneca Township.
- Minimize the use of exterior lighting and signage.
- Maximize functional open space areas.
- Facilitate the restoration and management of native plant communities.
- Development in floodplains and environmentally sensitive areas is to be avoided.
- Development in severe or very several soil for septic disposal is to be avoided.
- Intergovernmental discussions and agreements are encouraged.
- No new development should be permitted to increase water runoff into any developed area which is located in a hollow or similar area which does not have a drainage outlet. Adequate multi-purpose water retention areas must be provided.
- Residential Land Use
- Substantially all residential development is encouraged to occur within or adjacent to existing residential areas.
- Timely development is promoted by encouraging the infilling of existing potentially buildable platted lots in existing subdivisions.
- Sufficient acreage should be planned within appropriate density categories to ensure timely and orderly development, to maximize contiguous managed open space in a well balance proportion of open space to private lots, streets and buildings, and to maintain the unique features of Seneca Township.