High Rents in Bloomington: It’s Not About Supply. Seriously. It’s Not.

By Peter Dorfman In an article in the April 25 Herald-Times, local realtors complained about the lack of houses available to sell in Bloomington. It would be unfortunate if this chorus of woe bolstered a more general perception that we have high housing costs in Bloomington because of a lack of supply. That would beContinue reading “High Rents in Bloomington: It’s Not About Supply. Seriously. It’s Not.”

Ask the Mayor? Why Bother?

By Peter Dorfman John Hamilton is featured today (April 21, 2021) in another WTIU “Ask the Mayor” interview. After the usual round of self-congratulation on the city’s adequate but undistinguished handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamilton launches into a dialog about his administration’s upzoning push that is so full of dreary platitudes, misleading data, misstatementsContinue reading “Ask the Mayor? Why Bother?”

Try This Yourself: Impact of Upzoning Debate on Local Home Valuations

By Jean Simonian One of the enduring claims among upzoning proponents in Bloomington has been that adding more multiplex houses to neighborhoods will improve affordability by adding less expensive options to the housing supply. When we examine this claim pragmatically, it quickly falls apart. But it has never gone away. So here’s an experiment youContinue reading “Try This Yourself: Impact of Upzoning Debate on Local Home Valuations”

Plan Commissioners Punt Upzoning to the Council — Along With Its Risks

By Peter Dorfman In its April 1 hearing, the Plan Commission — having been assailed by a largely critical audience and obviously realizing they had changed absolutely no one’s mind on upzoning Bloomington’s core — voted 6-3 to send the UDO amendment eliminating single-family zoning to the City Council with a recommendation to approve. ToContinue reading “Plan Commissioners Punt Upzoning to the Council — Along With Its Risks”

Does a Housing Shortage Justify Upzoning? Surprise: We Don’t Have One

By Peter Dorfman Bloomington’s administration has tried just about every conceivable rationalization for upzoning the city’s  dense core. “Walkability to downtown” didn’t overcome constituents’ objections to the plan in 2019. Nor did Bloomingtonians buy into the pretext that an influx of market rate apartment development would generate new affordable housing. The city’s own planners regularly admitContinue reading “Does a Housing Shortage Justify Upzoning? Surprise: We Don’t Have One”

No, We Don’t Have Homelessness Because There Aren’t Enough Homes

By Peter Dorfman I have been a consistent opponent of Bloomington’s plan to densify its core neighborhoods for more than two years. This stance has brought me into contact with a lot of people who agree, and a lot of detractors as well. I’ve been called a “clueless, selfish old white dude,” a racist, andContinue reading “No, We Don’t Have Homelessness Because There Aren’t Enough Homes”

Bevendean: A Cautionary Tale

By Patricia L. Foster This is a story about Bevendean, a small urban community on the edge of Brighton, England. Our story is summarized from a research paper by Joanna Sage and colleagues that appeared in 2012 in the journal Housing Studies1. The paper documents how this low-income community, situated close to two universities (Brighton andContinue reading “Bevendean: A Cautionary Tale”

Plan Commission Backs Into Hearings on Upzoning

By Peter Dorfman Bloomington’s Plan Commission held its first debate session on the city’s new zoning map and amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) on Monday, March 8. The Commission has mapped out a series of four meetings to address the map and amendments, including what promises to be a marathon session on MarchContinue reading “Plan Commission Backs Into Hearings on Upzoning”

Debating the Stability of Neighborhoods Should Be Done Face to Face

By Victoria Witte I have lived in one of core Bloomington neighborhoods that is the focus of the city’s current upzoning proposal since 1981. This is a complicated proposal and one that needs an open forum — an in-person forum — to truly consider the ramifications of densification. The middle of a pandemic, with people’sContinue reading “Debating the Stability of Neighborhoods Should Be Done Face to Face”

Is Upzoning Progressive?

Photo: Tony Castro By Russell Skiba, Ph.D. One of the arguments made by proponents of upzoning is that zoning policies that encourage higher density and remove barriers to development are progressive.  Jackie Scanlan, Development Services Manager of Bloomington’s planning department, has called the federal Yes in My Backyard (YIMBY) Act — which calls upon localContinue reading “Is Upzoning Progressive?”