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"The Community First Initiative"

We have established a grassroots initiative called “Community First”, a cooperative effort among a diverse group of residents that came together to create advisory guidelines for the successful and continuous improvement of our neighborhoods. Its mission is to establish a process by which homeowners and professionals can compile information about the neighborhoods and the interests of the residents to create advisory guidelines for the successful and continuous improvement of their homes.

Our reason for starting this initiative is that over the past several years the City of Naperville has been trying to establish additional regulations pertaining to the “bulk” of homes that are to be remodeled or replaced. Both the Task Force and City Staff have expended many hours in the process of trying to determine how to fairly address the concerns of Naperville’s 35,000 homes. Although there is general agreement that any new laws mandating such regulations should, in fairness, apply citywide, no one has been able to find numeric formulas that are acceptable to all.

After extensive consideration of proposed “bulk” regulations, in the form of footprints and/or ratios, and numerical limits on height and yard set backs, etc., we have concluded that such restraints cannot help us achieve the vision we have for continuous improvement and gradual evolution of Naperville’s neighborhoods.

Some of the best examples of existing and replacement housing clearly violate the proposed numeric limits, while some of the worst examples fall comfortably within them. Limiting the size of a home does not mean that it will be acceptable to a neighborhood. Compounding this problem further is the vast array of housing styles that exist in Naperville’s neighborhoods.

We are also concerned with the unintended consequences of highly restrictive code changes and believe they would not be in the best interest of our community. Such restrictions can prevent creative innovations by our most experienced building professionals while simultaneously inviting the less imaginative “formula” houses. Market forces can be affected.

The Community First workbook of advisory guidelines will help homeowners identify those architectural elements that characterize their neighborhoods and those elements and practices they believe would help redevelopment blend in with existing homes.

Community First will help builders, developers and other professionals to share their expertise, so that it may be captured and integrated with the desires of the homeowners and used for the benefit of all. We propose, however, that all such professionals who share our vision, and who would enjoy the endorsement of Community First, use their best efforts to respect the character of the neighborhood as defined in the guideline workbook.

We strongly believe that these guidelines will educate, promote communication and provide a valuable element of predictability to the remodeling and/or replacement of homes in our neighborhoods. It is our hope that this community sponsored solution will not only have a positive impact on Naperville, but will also provide a model for other communities.

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P.O. Box 580  -  Naperville, Illinois 60566  -  630-375-7231