In September, the Chicago City Council’s Zoning Committee passed Mayor Emanuel’s proposed ordinance to create areas of new zoning flexibility near public transportation stations that would ease the requirements for parking in a new construction building to allow a more urbanist, walkable community to emerge.
While the ordinance was not as accommodating as many proponents desired, the regulations now allow for developments in certain zoning districts that fall within a requisite radius of a public transit stop to reduce vehicular parking from the otherwise required minimum parking standard by as much as 50% for residential uses or more for non-residential uses and become eligible for increases in maximum building height and F.A.R.
In many cases, a development must still undergo administrative approval with the Zoning Department. However, for land owners and developers whose properties fall within the approved zones, this ordinance ushers in a new opportunity to create outstanding, livable buildings, blocks, and communities. Communities that can—when it’s appropriate and economically viable—cater more effectively to city-dwellers who rely less on personal vehicles and more on walking, bicycles, and public transportation.