Well, big news is afoot. In 2013, the City of Chicago passed a transit-oriented development (TOD) ordinance, to provide development incentives to qualifying properties located within 600-feet (1,200, if located on a Pedestrian Street) of a Chicago Transit Authority or Metra station (Transit Station). The TOD ordinance, according to a City press release, facilitated eight projects to the tune of nearly $132 million. Now, here comes the big news – just two years later, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has introduced reforms to the TOD ordinance that has the potential to incentivize significantly more development.

If passed, the new TOD ordinance would:

  • Increase the pool of properties that could potentially qualify for TOD incentives by expanding the allowable radius from Transit Stations to 1,320 feet, and for properties located on a Pedestrian Street, the distance would be increased further to 2,640 feet;
  • Allow 100% reduction of certain residential parking requirements;
  • Streamline the process for securing certain TOD incentives – allowing some incentives to be secured administratively through an Administrative Adjustment process approved by the Zoning Administrator, rather than a Zoning Map Amendment approved legislatively by the Chicago City Council; and
  • Expand incentives for certain Affordable Requirements Ordinance compliance.

This change would be a Win-Win for all – as the reforms would spur economic development, create new jobs (including construction and other jobs), facilitate new transportation-friendly mixed-use developments, and shorten the speed to market of certain new real estate development. As stated in a recent City press release, a preliminary analysis by the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), suggests that “these reforms would generate more than $400 million in economic activity and $100 million in tax revenue for the City and its sister agencies each year.” See the MPC preliminary analysis by clicking here.

For more information, see the City press release here.

And, for your reading pleasure, the draft TOD reform ordinance may be accessed by clicking here and then selecting and opening the draft ordinance (O2015-5334).

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting topic!