Earlier this week, after a four-hour hearing, the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate recommended approval of a three-year pilot initiative to expand and modify the City of Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (the “ARO”) in certain areas along the Milwaukee Avenue Corridor and portions of the Near North and Near West areas of Chicago.
It is expected to be approved by the full City Council on October 11, 2017, and will take effect upon its approval and passage. Only the following pending projects in these pilot areas are exempt: (1) an ordinance authorizing a City land sale or financial assistance that is introduced by November 1, 2017; (2) planned developments that receive a favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission by November 1, 2017 (effectively, these must be heard by the Plan Commission at its October 19 hearing); or (3) zoning amendment applications that receive a favorable vote from the Committee on Zoning by November 1, 2017.
The Pilot Program will affect distinct areas that the City has identified as the Milwaukee Corridor Pilot Area, and the Near North/West Pilot Area, which is split into two separate zones. The two pilot areas, and the two zones within the Near North/Near West Pilot Area have differing requirements. The City has created helpful fact sheets showing the areas along with the basic parameters of the ordinances, and how they compare to the wider 2015 ARO. The maps and ordinances can be found at the links below:
Milwaukee Pilot Area
Near North/Near West Pilot Area
Near North Zone:
Near West Zone:
An additional provision in both proposed ordinances permits the Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development to enter into service agreements with outside providers to market affordable housing created under the Pilot Program, to help with income qualification of potential tenants and homebuyers of such affordable units and to conduct educational programs to ensure units are marketed appropriately. The Commissioner will have access to funds from the Affordable Housing Opportunity Fund for providing these services.
It should be noted that several aldermen, including Alderman Dowell (3rd Ward), Alderman Sophia King (4th Ward), and Alderman Arena (45th Ward) indicated a desire to evaluate the possibility of including similar expanded ARO pilot programs in their wards.
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