The Ready Set Wilmette team recently met with the Village’s Housing Commission to discuss the Comprehensive Plan process, review programs and development, and consider what housing related issues and opportunities are facing Wilmette today and what they might be in the future. The meeting was led by the team’s housing experts from Applied Real Estate Analysis (AREA), Inc., Maxine Mitchell and Kinga Ndicu. “Housing Variety + Affordability” is one of the Plan Themes and will be a primary focus come Spring 2022.
The Housing Commission offered perspectives on housing mix and affordability in Wilmette. Discussion excerpts are below; read the full summary by clicking here.
Issues + Opportunities
- Some of the existing apartment housing stock is aging — disinvestment is what makes it affordable, but not necessarily desirable.
- “Naturally” occurring affordable housing (i.e. older units and those that have deferred maintenance) often end up being torn down and replaced with more costly housing.
- About 30 -40 teardowns of single family homes per year in the Village – replaced by larger, more expensive new homes that may diminish historic community character.
- There is need for housing to support people with disabilities and “universal design” that can help current and future owners (aging in place).
- Lot consolidations occur where owners will put together 2 or 3 residential lots to build large homes; those new homes can be out of character and high cost.
Perspectives on Housing
- Unclear how most Wilmette residents feel about multiple story / multiple family development in town.
- Metrics needed to measure success related to housing goals.
- Inclusionary zoning would be a way to ensure affordable housing is part of developments on desirable sites
- Affordable needs to be about more than just smaller units — need to have two bedrooms or more to accommodate families and a better quality of life.
- Community awareness and understanding about what “affordable housing” is and is not is important – this point became clear as Cleland Place was explained to the community.