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?”

Don’t Be Dupe-plexed

By Jim Rosenbarger The Mayor and some City Council members continue their push to open doors to new multi-family apartment development in single family neighborhoods. Having been rebuffed in 2019 during the debate over the UDO revision, the Mayor passed the intervening months without discussing a middle ground approach. Instead he came back in 2020Continue reading “Don’t Be Dupe-plexed”

Devil in the Details: A First Look at the City’s Revised Upzoning Proposal

The City of Bloomington has released the revised version of its plan to upzone its residential neighborhoods. The revised zoning map, which sharply reduced the city’s radical overlay of Residential Urban (R4) zoning on much of the core neighborhoods, came out the second week in February. The Mayor’s planning staff posted the clarifying text amendmentsContinue reading “Devil in the Details: A First Look at the City’s Revised Upzoning Proposal”

The Revised Upzoning Proposal is On Its Way

On February 10, City Council members received the following notice from the Mayor’s office: CITY OF BLOOMINGTON OFFICE OF THE MAYOR MEMORANDUM TO: Members of the Bloomington Common Council FROM: Mayor John Hamilton RE: UDO Revisions and Timeline DATE: February 10, 2021  Since Planning & Transportation (P&T) staff initiated the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) zoningContinue reading “The Revised Upzoning Proposal is On Its Way”

Why Climate Change Fizzled as a Rationale for Upzoning

By Peter Dorfman In the fall of 2019, when Bloomington’s Plan Commission and City Council debated an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to push multiplex housing into single-family zoned core neighborhoods, plex proponents based their case on three principal arguments: Housing affordability — The suggestion that new housing, at whatever rental price point,Continue reading “Why Climate Change Fizzled as a Rationale for Upzoning”

The Most Destructive Housing Form

By Jean Simonian The latest round of debate on the rezoning of Bloomington’s core has focused a lot of attention on the proposal to allow development of large multiplex apartment structures in core neighborhoods now zoned for single-family houses. That’s understandable; quadplexes would be big and conspicuous, towering over most of their neighbors, and eachContinue reading “The Most Destructive Housing Form”

Who Benefits from Upzoning? On Housing Affordability and Equity

By Russell Skiba, PhD In its rollout of the UDO amendment proposal in October, Bloomington’s Planning & Transportation Department claimed that upzoning to allow plexes throughout the city, but especially in core neighborhoods, would help meet the Comprehensive Plan’s goals of “equitable access to housing” and growth in the city’s inventory of affordable housing.  SuchContinue reading “Who Benefits from Upzoning? On Housing Affordability and Equity”

Zoning is a Sledgehammer; Bloomington Deserves a Form-Based Approach

By Jim Rosenbarger Conventional land use zoning is a blunt-edged tool, especially for existing, unique neighborhoods. Synonyms for “zone” include area, sector, section, belt, region or territory. These terms describe something generic, something broad. Bloomington’s neighborhoods have names: Prospect Hill, Green Acres, Hyde Park, etc. Each has varied street types, lot sizes and shapes, andContinue reading “Zoning is a Sledgehammer; Bloomington Deserves a Form-Based Approach”

The Upzoning Debate and the ‘Appeal to Authority’

By Peter Dorfman More than 550 Bloomingtonians from all across the city — from Broadview to Blue Ridge — have signed onto a Resolution calling on the Plan Commission and City Council to reject the city’s new zoning map and the text amendments to the UDO that would upzone Bloomington’s single-family neighborhoods. For perspective, 550Continue reading “The Upzoning Debate and the ‘Appeal to Authority’”

League of Women Voters Urges the City to Slow Its Roll on Upzoning

At the end of 2020, the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County wrote to Mayor John Hamilton, the Common Council, and the Plan Commission urging a slower, more transparent, thoughtful, and considered process in evaluating the proposal of plexes in core neighborhoods. Ann Birch, president of the League, called on the administration to involveContinue reading “League of Women Voters Urges the City to Slow Its Roll on Upzoning”