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Greater Bloomington Chamber Opposes City's Proposed Changes To Title 20
Updated December 11, 2017 7:13 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes the City's proposed changes to Title 20 of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). If passed, the changes would decrease the height and density allowed in the Downtown Overlay Districts.

Officials are asking the public to show their opposition at the meeting which begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. If passed by Plan Commission, the City Council will consider the changes at the December 13 meeting and take a vote on December 20.

The proposed ordinance reduces the allowed height in all the downtown overlays by 10 feet and decreases density in most of the overlays, in some cases as much as half. In a memo from the planning department, the proposal also includes new language encouraging the Plan Commission to consider projects "...that contribute to the diversification of downtown housing and/or contribute to addressing the community's affordable housing challenge."

By substantially reducing developers' ability to build by right, the City Administration is essentially conditioning approval of projects on the developer's provision of affordable housing. This appears to be an attempt to contravene the state legislation passed this year, prohibiting a municipality from requiring an owner provide affordable housing.

Besides opposing the changes, the Chamber also criticizes the Administration's lack of transparency and respect for the process. The City announced the changes on Friday, December 1, and the Plan Commission is scheduled to take a vote on Monday, December 11. If passed by Plan Commission, the City Council will consider the changes at the December 13 meeting and take a vote on December 20.

"This is an example of the City Administration trying to quickly and quietly make significant changes to the UDO and circumvent the ongoing process without any real opportunity for public input," said Anne Bono, interim president and CEO of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. "The Chamber is requesting the Administration remove the ordinance from consideration at the December 11 Plan Commission meeting and follow the original process to update and pass the Comprehensive Plan and then update the UDO in a timely manner."

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