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Plan & Design Commission

Highland Park's Plan & Design Commission considers zoning applications for Special Use Permits, Planned Developments (PUD's), Zoning Map Amendments, and Zoning Text Amendments.  They conduct public hearings on all matters, and also are the City's body for design review.  Changes to exterior design features such as new and modified non-single-family construction, lighting, landscaping, and other improvements appear before the PDC for review.

The jurisdiction and purpose of the Plan & Design Commission is established in Chapter 33 of the City Code.

For questions on current or upcoming items on PDC agendas, please contact Senior Planner Karl Burhop, the staff liaison to the Commission. Email or call 847.926.1852.

Development Projects Map

The City has created a new interactive map to keep the public informed of large development projects occurring in the community. Project information, including descriptions, images, and public hearing dates and status updates will be included. 

The interactive map is available at the following link: 

Click Here for a Project Map

There is also a Q&A posted here for the current 1700 Old Deerfield Road (former Solo Cup site) project.

  • Karen Moore, Chair - Term expires 2027
  • Steven J. Kerch, Vice Chair  - Term expires 2027
  • Adam Hecht - Term expires 2024
  • Daniel Mantis - Term expires 2026*
  • Denise Arnold - Term expires 2025*
  • Kenneth A. Henry - Term expires 2027*
  • Vacant

  • Annette Lidawer, Council Liaison   
  • Yumi Ross, Alternate Council Liaison     
  • Karl Burhop, Staff Liaison
  • Jackson Roberts, Student Representative through May 2024
  • Alex Mendoza, Student Representative through May 2025


* May be reappointed to an additional 4-year term.
The Plan and Design Commission consists of seven members, all of whom are appointed by the mayor with the consent of the City Council. Commissioners are Highland Park residents who are appointed for terms of three or four years and may be reappointed for a second consecutive four-year term. No commission member may serve for more than two full consecutive terms. 
The Plan and Design Commission is charged with maintaining and updating the City's Comprehensive Master Plan, the City’s Zoning Ordinance, and related development regulations.  The Commission is also responsible for making recommendations to the City Council on development issues and proposals that affect the City, including special use permits, subdivision plats, planned unit developments, ordinance text and map amendments, special exceptions to parking requirements, and other projects as assigned.
In addition to these duties, the Plan and Design Commission is also charged with reviewing exterior changes to all buildings and grounds (except for single-family developments that are not part of a Planned Development) as they relate to development projects requiring a Public Hearing. The Commission may also consider design review applications upon referral by the Director of Community Development. 
The Plan and Design Commission works to safeguard the character and aesthetic quality of the community. Its decisions work to enhance property values, taxable values and the health, safety and welfare of the City.
Rules of Procedure
 The Open Meeting Act requires the members of the Plan and Design Commission discuss public business in an open, public forum. This law requires that, whenever a gathering of three or more commissioners occurs during which public business is discussed, such meetings be advertised (through a posted agenda) and be open to the public. 
In order to ensure Plan and Design Commission matters are conducted in a fair and efficient manner, the Plan and Design Commission has adopted Rules of Procedure which apply to all Plan and Design Commission meetings. Robert's Rules of Order are used to supplement these procedures, and together these two sets of rules help the Plan and Design Commission to conclude its business as promptly as possible, with all interested persons provided an opportunity to speak. 

In order for the commission to vote on an item, a quorum must be present. A quorum consists of four voting members of the seven voting commission members. A matter is passed if a majority of commissioners present vote in the affirmative.

Design Review in Highland Park
The Plan and Design Commission reviews all design features associated with large development projects, as well as all variation requests related to signs, lighting, and landscaping.
Other design review applications are reviewed administratively by City Staff. The staff Design Review Team will review the application and make a recommendation to the Director of Community of Development.
All by-right development, redevelopment, and construction may be reviewed administratively unless it is:

  1. Related to the construction of a new building;
  2. Related to a change in the location of a building;
  3. Related to the construction of more than 10,000 square feet of new paved area;
  4. Requires the approval of a variation from the Design Review Standards set forth in Article II of Chapter 176;
  5. Related to a change to an Exterior Design Feature that, in the sole determination of the Director, is highly visible and will have a significant impact on the surrounding area; or
  6. Related to an application for a Special Use Permit, Planned Development, or Special Exception to Parking as described in Chapter 150.
If any of the criteria above are applicable, the application is not eligible for staff administrative review and is referred to the Plan and Design Commission for review.