It’s On.

We’ll be hearing a lot about Sandberg’s bona fides as the election season gets underway. What matters today is that John Hamilton has a serious, committed primary challenger with a team and an infrastructure forming to conduct a credible campaign. Perhaps now that the ball is officially rolling, candidates with similar objectives will feel comfortable jumping into the races for City Council seats — especially those held by the ideologues who imposed the upzoning on the city.

Where Do We Put the New Catalent Workers? It’s a Trick Question

It’s tempting to point out that proposing tax abatements worth more than $29 million for a large corporation and then immediately turning around and hitting the rest of us poor suckers up for another local income tax hike (all of this immediately on the heels of the Mayor’s unpopular and still-very-iffy annexation of the suburbs) is a very bad look.

Must Bloomington Grow?

It’s too late to avoid the eventual responsibility of maintaining the new parks, bike infrastructure and other amenities Bloomington has created over the last decade. But we can consider alternative strategies for managing the city’s assets and future liabilities. We can stop blindly accepting that urban growth is an inherent good.

The Penny Drops: Evidence for Upzoning Benefits is Full of Holes

By Peter Dorfman Ever since the beginning of the upzoning controversy in Bloomington, ideologues in the community and on the City Council have touted published research that purports to show eliminating single family zoning brings down housing costs. So-called “Supply Advocates” argue that allowing developers to densify core neighborhoods will eventually create enough new apartmentsContinue reading “The Penny Drops: Evidence for Upzoning Benefits is Full of Holes”

Wasn’t Housing Affordability Supposed to Be the Whole Point? Oh Well. On to 2023.

The city’s upzoning process has come to its predictable ugly end. It got intense toward the end. And personal.  Planners, pro-density Council members and upzoning fans in the public (as always, a minority among the people who turned out for the meetings) flexed their muscles. They made it clear that conditional use, annual caps andContinue reading “Wasn’t Housing Affordability Supposed to Be the Whole Point? Oh Well. On to 2023.”

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”

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”