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?”

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”