Revised Draft of Bloomington UDO Zoning Map and Text Amendments Announced

(BLOOMINGTON) – A revised version of the draft Bloomington Zoning Map and Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) text amendments was announced today, to be formally introduced at a March 8 Plan Commission hearing.

The revisions reflect feedback received through broad public engagement over the three months since release of the Public Outreach Draft last October. Additional public input on the revised version will be welcomed through Plan Commission and City Council hearings to be held in the coming months. Updates are posted on the project website at UDO Zoning Map: Public Hearings Draft.   

Updating the zoning map and amending the UDO text are the final stages of an extensive public process that began three years ago after adoption of the City’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan. That process included the April 2020 approval of the UDO to bring the City’s land use and development laws into closer alignment with goals such as housing equity, economic viability, sustainability, and quality of life.

Mayor John Hamilton

“Robust community engagement has helped clarify how to balance what I believe are several shared community goals – for more affordable housing, for more sustainable and inclusive neighborhoods, for preservation of high quality of life in each of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor John Hamilton in announcing the revisions. “We know it’s important to help our city evolve toward more inclusion and sustainability, while also protecting the high quality of life we want every resident to enjoy. The revisions will, I hope, help assure an incremental and shared way to put our values into action.”

“We can’t predict the future with precision, so taking a step-by-step approach, with abundant opportunity to course-correct along the way, makes sense,” Mayor Hamilton added. “Documents like the Comprehensive Plan and the UDO should be treated as three-ring-binders, whereas a community we can amend or remove a page or paragraph as we find what works best or if we identify unintended consequences. Ongoing dialogue and opportunity for revisions will help us together balance and navigate the challenges in the coming years.”

The revised proposal includes the following significant changes:

  • The amount of new R4 Zone created in the map, designating residential urban areas, has been significantly reduced and concentrated in nodes or corridors across the city offering proximity to transit routes, major employers, schools, and/or shopping centers, or in new undeveloped areas.  This map compares the previously proposed R4 Zone to the revised proposal of less than one-quarter the area.
  • The new R4 Zone will allow duplex, triplex, fourplex, live/work, multifamily, and cottage development, but the revision will designate all as conditional, rather than duplex and triplex being permitted, uses, meaning that all will require a public review and approval through the Board of Zoning Appeals.
  • In the existing R1 – R3 zones (where fourplexes were already not permitted), triplexes have been removed as either a permitted or conditional use, and duplexes have been shifted to conditional use, again requiring public review. 
  • In the existing R1 – R3 zones, use-specific standards for duplexes have been modified to include physical spacing and timing requirements that will avoid concentration and allow ongoing evaluation and monitoring.  

The revised draft continues to reflect other frequently mentioned topics in public feedback, including parking and sewer infrastructure. Parking concerns are mitigated in many existing neighborhoods through neighborhood parking zones, where permits are allowed only for single family residences.  Duplex, triplex, and fourplex units are required to provide on-site parking.  Stormsewer and sanitary sewer services are presently able to accommodate any anticipated infill development from duplex, triplex, or fourplex units.    

The Plan Commission will meet to discuss review and adoption procedures and then announce subsequent special hearings to consider the new Zoning Map and series of text amendments that clarify or change uses and standards in the UDO. Legal notices will be mailed shortly to property owners within the corporate boundaries of the City. After Plan Commission review and approval, the changes will be presented for City Council consideration and action.