All of the large scale zoning applications approved at the Plan Commission’s monthly meeting last Thursday will be taken up at today’s zoning meeting (link to Friday’s Plan Commission Roundup). Zoning applications that recently got the green light from the Plan Commission include: a new mixed-use residential housing complex overlooking the new 606 Bloomingdale Trail, and plans to add office space in Fulton Market and Ravenswood.
The committee will also take a second look at the Mayor’s proposed changes to transit oriented development (TOD) regulations and a proposal to create a special liquor license for parties held at industrial venues. Zoning Chairman Danny Solis(25) deferred a vote on both items at the beginning of the last Zoning meeting.
The Mayor’s TOD changes build upon his original 2013 TOD ordinance by expanding the size of TOD zones, eliminating all parking requirements, and adding new incentives for affordable housing. The TOD ordinance the Mayor introduced at the last City Council meeting more than doubles the maximum distance required for development projects near CTA and Metra stations to 1,320 ft, up from the 600 ft currently required in the City’s zoning code.
Developers who commit to making 100% of units affordable would get to expand the floor-area-ratio (FAR), which is the building floor area divided by the total gross area of the lot, from 3.5 to 4.0. TOD projects in business, commercial, manufacturing, and downtown zoned areas wouldn’t have to provide any on-site parking under the proposal. In lieu of parking, developers would have to beautify the surrounding open space with trees and shrubbery, outdoor seating, wider sidewalks or additional lighting. If approved in committee tomorrow and by the full City Council at the end of the month, the changes would apply to all zoning applications submitted on or after November 1, 2015.
In addition to the TOD reforms, there is Mayor Emanuel’s proposed ordinance creating a private event license for large parties hosted at industrial venues. The license fee would be based on the number of expected attendees, ranging from $700 to $6,600.