Zoning & Building Safety:

Zoning and Building Safety Department

Land Use Plan

Most individuals become involved with land use planning when their attention is drawn by one particular issue. The issue may be cars parked in a front yard ext door, it may be protection of an area with hillsides and vegetation, it may be traffic congestion, or it may be because of a vacant site in the community is being developed. However, these issues may be broader and can involve other cities and villages within Rock Island County. This whole range of issues, from the big picture to the detailed issues, is land use planning.

In 1998 Rock Island County adopted a Land Use Plan that promotes the planned and orderly development of Rock Island County. The orderly development will be promoted by land use decisions based on protecting the land, air, water, natural resources and environment of the County. Land planned for new growth has been identified around the existing communities and as part of their proposed land uses where infrastructure exists or is planned.

This plan focuses on managing growth and sprawl in Rock Island County. The preservation of prime farmland has been established as a high priority along with all natural resources of Rock Island County. If the plan is followed preservation will occur. The intent of this plan is not to prohibit private individuals from moving out to the rural areas of the County to enjoy the rural atmoshpere, but to encourage development in a manner that will maintain that atmoshpere. The Land Use Plan for Rock Island County focuses on managing growth within the county. If followed, a successful balance between economic development, residential development and the preservation of natural resources and prime farmland will occur.

The Rock Island County Board began the process of creating the County's Comprehensive Land Use Plan in April of 1997, with the formation of the Land Use Planning Commission. The Local Land Resources Management Planning Act, adopted by the State of Illinois in 1985, provides the authority for land planning at the county level. This Act encourages Illinois counties to adopt a land use plan and related policies and objectives. The 1985 Act emphasizes the importance of planning in a socially, economically and environmentally responsible manner, and urges the protection of the state's natural resources.

Rock Island County adopted its first Zoning Ordinance in 1963 after several years of public hearings. The Ordinance and subsequent zoning maps have been used since that time. However, a comprehensive land use plan has never been prepared nor adopted by the county. Land use decisions have therefore been based on the needs at the time. In 1985 the Rock Island County Board adopted the LESA (Land Evaluation and Site Assessment) policy for use when AG land decisions were involved. LESA is a tool used when making zoning decisions, but more specific guidelines are needed as development pressure is felt in the unincorporated areas.

The geography of Rock Island County makes it imperative that future land use decisions be made in a manner with forethought to an overall plan. The plan should take into consideration not only the assets of the county, but also the existing municipalities. The three major municipalities, Rock Island, Moline and East Moline, find themselves landlocked between the Mississippi River and Iowa to the north and the Rock River to the south. These cities must then consider crossing the Rock to enlarge their corporate boundaries. Three other municipalities find themselves also trying to annex land from the County near the corporate limits of the three largest. Development trends in recent years has been for commercial development be in the incorporated cities, and residential growth in rural areas. The impact of residential development to county services versus the increase in revenue from taxes received shows a large disparity between the two. It is with this purpose in mind that the County Board commissioned that a Land Use Plan be created. It is important that future growth take place in an organized manner to prevent scattered and inconsistent use of the land.

In 2019 Rock Island County received a grant to update our plan. While the plan is similar in nature, it was updated and priorities and actions were addressed. The plan was developed with the assistance of the Bi-State Regional Commission. The plan was fulled adopted in October of 2020. 

The entire Rock Island County Land Use Plan amps are available for download on our downloads page.

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Rock Island County Office Building (map ExternalLink.gif)
1504 Third Avenue, Room 305, Rock Island IL 61204-8624
Phone: (309) 558-3771      Fax: (309) 786-4456

      Hours: 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM - Monday thru Friday
Inspectors are in the field from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM