Mayor introduces transit-oriented development reform ordinance

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel has started the process to introduce a transit-oriented development (TOD) reform ordinance to create incentives for more development near CTA and Metra stations.

A Metropolitan Planning Council preliminary analysis indicates the reform could induce more than $400 million in new economic activity and $100 million in new tax revenue.

A news release from the mayor’s office reports that zoning code enhancements include:

  • TOD incentives in an expanded radius—up to ¼ mile from a transit station, and ½ mile on a pedestrian-designated street.
    Elimination of the residential parking requirements if the development has alternative transportation options (e.g., car sharing station or bike parking).
  • Allowing developers to secure benefits like FAR through an administrative adjustment from the zoning administrator (rather than a zoning map amendment by the City Council).
  • An additional .025 FAR for projects that trigger the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance if the development includes half of any required affordable housing units on site. The developer would get an additional .025 FAR increase if the development includes all required affordable housing units.

“Prior to 2013, the City’s zoning code did not promote development around transit stations,” the news release reported. “In 2013, the Emanuel Administration passed an ordinance that provided new zoning incentives including reduced parking requirements and greater height and density bonuses for projects near transit stations. To be eligible for the incentives, projects needed to be either within 600 feet of a transit station or 1200 feet of a transit station along a pedestrian-designated street. To date, the ordinance has facilitated the development of eight projects worth more than $132 million, creating nearly 1,000 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs. Promoting TOD will drive additional economic development to neighborhoods.”

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