In August 2021, the City of Bloomington eliminated single family zoning in its residential districts, which had been in place since the early 1990s as a tool to curb overdevelopment and over-occupancy of student rentals.
At the end of 2019, Bloomington’s City Council approved a new UDO, rejecting an amendment that would have rezoned neighborhoods that had been zoned for single family housing since the 1990s, to allow denser housing forms as permitted uses. Proponents of densification had argued that allowing new “plex” development, especially in core neighborhoods surrounding downtown and the Indiana University campus, would create affordable housing, encourage walkable/bikeable lifestyles and foster economic/racial equity in housing.
The Council rejected the upzoning amendment when Bloomington citizens turned out in large numbers at a series of Council meetings to point out obvious logical flaws in the plex proponents’ arguments and oppose densification of their neighborhoods.
The 2021 amendment and mapping reverses this action, allowing duplexes in single family neighborhoods.
While only a handful of applications to build duplexes have been submitted in Bloomington since the UDO amendment went into effect, Dissident Democrats believe this is principally because of unfavorable market conditions lingering post-pandemic, and the high cost of building materials and construction manpower. We believe ultimately these conditions will turn around, and that this zoning change, if left in effect, ultimately will:
- Destroy neighborhood cohesion;
- Reduce the availability of small-lot, affordable single family homes for individual and family home ownership; and
- Provide a powerful incentive for large, private equity-backed corporate developers to buy up Bloomington homes for conversion to rental properties…
…all while failing to address the city’s stated priority of increasing the stock of affordable housing (explicitly including home ownership opportunities).
Bloomington’s Dissident Democrats have consistently opposed the upzoning and other measures aimed at housing deregulation in the city.