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.”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”