Approved Arlington Park Overlay Zone


Arlington International Racecourse overlay area to be considered by Arlington Heights officials for future redevelopment.

With Churchill Downs now reviewing offers to purchase the Arlington International Racecourse property – including a Chicago Bears proposal – the Village of Arlington Heights has put in place dos and don’ts intended to guide potential developers.

The village council on Monday approved a zoning overlay district for the 326-acre property near the intersection of Northwest Highway and Wilke Road. The racetrack property is in a B-3 zone, which allows uses such as automotive businesses or warehouses. However, village officials see the availability of the property as a unique development opportunity and have repeatedly called for a comprehensive project that would fittingly replace the world famous Arlington Park.

By designating an overlap area for the region, Arlington Heights created a list of businesses that would not be permitted in future development without a waiver approved by the village council. Additionally, the overlap area requires that the entire property be developed as part of an overall master plan, rather than subdivided into smaller plots. In addition, said master plan should preserve the features of the natural site and include transit-oriented development within 1,300 feet of the existing Arlington Park Metra station.

“This is just the start of a long discussion about what the future of racetrack ownership may hold,” said Charles Perkins, director of planning and community development for the village.

Although Arlington Heights is taking steps to encourage the retention of the property as a regional destination, the village chiefs noted that they did not control the submitted offer chosen by the owner of the Churchill Downs racetrack. “At the end of the day, the village cannot make a one-sided decision on what is or is not happening at this site,” said village director Randy Recklaus. “This is private property and ultimately the current owner determines who he sells or not sells this property as well.”

Prohibited uses

Adult business

Sale and service of agricultural implements

Commercial branch

Non-commercial antenna

Automatic car wash

Automotive service station

Sale of building materials

Contractor’s office and design showroom

Currency exchange office

Sale of electrical equipment

Children’s parks in the fairgrounds

Funeral home, mortuary

Laundry dry cleaning up to 5,000 square feet

Machinery sales and service

Monuments auction

Major and minor auto repair

Pawnbroker Cash Converter

Recreational Vehicles & Boats, Sales / Supplies

Repair, Small flea market

Sign painting workshop

Tool and die store

Wholesale offices (including warehouses and stores)

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