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Downtown Design Guidelines


Policy and Governance

An MPC policy and governance case study

Program background

Mundelein has spent much of the last five years re-evaluating its approaches to land use, development and economic growth. With the goals of improving the quality of life for residents, creating opportunities for business owners and reducing the entitlement process for developers, Mundelein embarked on an 18-month planning process to create a Comprehensive Plan. Adopted in 2011, the plan details long-term strategies for developing the village’s housing stock, industrial and commercial corridors, parks and other assets.

Mundelein also adopted a new Zoning Ordinance in 2012. The ordinance placed a large focus on land use and development regulations in the Village’s downtown. Mundelein’s downtown design guidelines are a subsection of the Village’s Zoning Ordinance and are part of a broader effort to develop an economically vibrant downtown while simultaneously preserving the character of the village.

How it works

As a part of rebranding their downtown, Mundelein was intentional about incorporating design guidelines into their Zoning Ordinance. With the adoption of the ordinance, downtown zoning districts were created in line with recommendations from Mundelein’s Comprehensive and Master Redevelopment plans. The design guidelines were intended to further refine the visions that were laid out in these plans. The guidelines serve as a resource for property owners, architects and developers who plan to build or rehabilitate existing buildings in the downtown area. They have successfully streamlined permitting processes and have provided property owners with more redevelopment options. This has ensured that development and building modifications are carried out in such a way as to maintain downtown Mundelein’s character and scale.

The guidelines address building requirements related to articulation, structure, orientation and materials that create uniformity and appeal to the area’s aesthetics. Specifications for each of these criteria differ across project types. In addition to building orientation requirements, the Village has also made pedestrian access a core component of the guidelines to create a more pedestrian friendly downtown.

A new 30,000 square foot mixed-income development in the pipeline speaks to Mundelein’s commitment to the design guidelines and to transit-oriented development (TOD), both of which build value and meet residents’ aspirations for a revitalized downtown. The developmeny is adjacent to Mundelein’s Metra station, which runs through downtown Mundelein, and opens the door for further investment in TOD. The result of a public-private partnership with Weston Solutions, it will house the company’s headquarters and the new Village Hall and will attract other businesses.


Department of Planning and Development, Village of Mundelein

  • Goal

    To implement a clear and transparent revitalization plan for the development of downtown Mundelein.

  • Target

    Residential and commercial properties in downtown Mundelein.

  • Successes

    Mundelein is working with developers to build a 30,000 square foot mixed-income project as a part of its efforts to re-establish downtown Mundelein as a prospering commercial center.

  • Lessons learned

    Long-term strategic planning needs a solid vision and buy-in from both residents and the Village.