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Final Push To Approve UDO Begins Tonight

City Council

(Mitch Legan, WTIU/WFIU News)

The Bloomington City Council will tackle the remaining First Round amendments to the proposed Unified Development Ordinance during Tuesday night’s special session.

The City Council has held eight UDO meetings since the Plan Commission approved the 417-page document in September.

The meetings have provided a space for councilmembers and the public to deliberate over ordinance that lays out the rules for land use and development in the city.

PLEXES

“Plex” was the buzzword for many meetings, as residents and councilmembers debated reintroducing the multifamily units into Bloomington’s core neighborhoods for hours on end.

Those who were for multifamily plexes said they would create housing diversity the city needs.

Regional Opportunity Initiatives predicts Bloomington needs to add 2,236 more housing units by 2030 to account for projected population growth. ROI’s housing report says one of the best ways for Bloomington to add housing diversity would be redeveloping existing housing stock.

Advocates maintained providing housing close to downtown would also help the city in its efforts to become greener, as more people might drive their car less – or not have one at all – if most of what they need is within walking distance.

Plex opponents, on the other hand, said allowing single-family homes to be turned into multifamily plexes would open the door for out-of-town developers to come in and drastically change core neighborhoods, pricing out current and future homeowners by renting the plexes to students at market rate.

They also said allowing plexes in core neighborhoods went directly against the city’s Comprehensive Plan, because page 60 of the plan states “Existing core neighborhoods should not be the focus of the city’s increasing density.”

After lengthy debate and deliberation, the Council voted to prohibit the development of new plexes in core neighborhoods, 6-2.

FIRST ROUND AMENDMENTS

The following meetings have been spent discussing the remaining First Round amendments.

Two of the adopted amendments presented by Councilmember Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5) attempt to add to Bloomington’s housing diversity.

Amendment 06 makes accessory dwelling units by-right in the city, meaning residents will no longer be considered a conditional use process that requires approval from a hearing officer or the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Amendment 08 removes the option for developers to make a payment instead of providing affordable housing onsite at a planned unit development that will include housing.

Councilmembers also discussed amendments concerning parking requirements for new housing but decided to leave the parking situation as-is.

WHAT’S NEXT

Now, the Council is set to hold one more meeting on Dec. 3 to discuss First Round amendments.

It plans to begin discussing Second Round and technical amendments the week after, with meetings scheduled for Dec. 10, 12 and 17.

If the Council is able to get through the remaining amendments in those four meetings, it will officially adopt the UDO as amended on Dec. 18.

Once the UDO is passed, the city will still have to draw up a conversion map for new zones. That map will rename current zones to be in line with the new UDO, according to Bloomington Senior Zoning Planner Eric Greulich.

The conversion map needs to be in place by the time the UDO goes into effect, which Greulich predicts will be sometime around the middle of 2020.  

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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