On May 11, 1993, the Kankakee County Board adopted the LESA System (PDF).
The Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) system were developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Soil Conservation Service (SCS), LESA is designed to determine the quality of land for agricultural uses, assess sites for their agricultural economic
viability, and protect the land against premature rural development. The LESA system is designed to be an advisory tool to State and local planners, landholders, developers, and governing officials when evaluating a site for development potential.
The LESA system consists of two parts.
In agricultural land evaluation, soils of a given area are rated and placed into groups ranging from the best to the worst suited for a state's agricultural use, cropland, or forestland. A relative value is determined for each soils group: the best group is assigned a value of 100 and all other groups are assigned lower values. The land evaluation is based on data from the National Cooperative Soil Survey and the Kankakee County Soil Survey.
The site assessment identifies important factors other than soil productivity that contributes to the quality of a site for agricultural use. Each factor selected is stratified into a range of possible values in accordance with local needs and objectives. This process provides a rational, consistent, sound basis for making land-use decisions.
The application of LESA combines a value for land evaluation with a value for a site assessment to determine the total value of a given site for agriculture. The higher the total value of a site, the higher the agricultural economic viability.
The LESA system was designed to be based on existing knowledge. LESA utilizes soil survey information and interpretations that are widely available. It also uses planning concepts and principles easily understood and regularly used by planners.