'Anti-Conversion Ordinance' Considered in Chicago

New zoning controls would make it harder to convert multi-unit residential buildings into single-family homes to prevent displacement in single-family neighborhoods in Chicago.

December 4, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Chicago, Illinois

James Andrews1 / Shutterstock

Alex Nitkin reports that planning and housing officials in the city of Chicago "are looking to introduce an ordinance this month to make it harder to convert some small apartment buildings into single-family homes, a process blamed for the loss of affordable housing in gentrifying areas."

"[T]he ordinance will require property owners to apply for a zoning change before converting two- to six-unit apartment buildings into single-family homes in some multifamily residential zones," reports Nitkin.

According to the article, the new ordinance is targeted specifically at the Pilsen neighborhood and the area around the Bloomingdale Trail, née The 606. By making it more difficult to convert multi-family housing to single-family homes, the ordinance is designed to reduce displacement and maintain the current character of the neighborhood, according to a statement from the Chicago Department of Housing.

There are more details to consider:

In single-family zoning districts in the 606 area, the ordinance would only allow the construction of single-family homes on blocks where detached homes make up the majority of buildings, officials said. In Pilsen, the ordinance would block new single-family homes in RT-4 and RM zoning districts, pushing developers to seek zoning changes.

Additional statements from city officials, including Patrick Murphey, zoning administrator for the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, and additional geographic detail of the ordinance are available in the source article.

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