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Majority Of City Council Gives Development Proposal Thumbs Up

city council pic

Most Bloomington City Council members say they will vote to approve stricter regulations on downtown development.

The group Wednesday night discussed the city’s controversial proposal that would, among other things, reduce the height and density developers are automatically allowed to build. The discussion follows a positive recommendation from the city plan commission Monday night. Only one commissioner that night voted no.

Bloomington is experiencing rapid growth and officials say the ordinance change would ensure better quality in what’s being built. But some argue the changes will slow development.

Anne Bono, the interim president and CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, says it will increase housing costs.

"We’re also making housing less affordable by making height so low that developers have no option but to negotiate," Bono says. "This adds additional time, unpredictability and red tape to the process."

Jon Lawrence is an executive committee member of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, also known as CONA. He’s one of a handful who spoke in favor of the changes at Wednesday's meeting. He says the proposal doesn’t go far enough to restrict development and protect the city's character.

"I want the buildings to look right, I want the buildings to be built, something we’ll be proud of to have for the next hundred years," Lawrence says.

Six city council members recommended approving the proposal at next Wednesday's meeting. Chris Sturbaum, who represents District One, says he’ll bring forth an amendment next week to clarify some of the proposal’s language.

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