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City of Chicago set to expand TOD benefits

Katriina McGuire Talar Berberian December 17, 2018

An ordinance expanding Transit Oriented Development (”TOD”) benefits to certain Residential Districts and along certain bus routes was introduced at the December 12, 2018, City Council meeting (the “Proposed 2018 Ordinance”).

Under the current TOD ordinance, properties in B, C, D or M Districts close to Chicago Transit Authority (“CTA”) and Metra train stations qualify as TOD sites. To qualify, properties must be within 1,320 feet of a CTA or Metra train station, unless the property is on a Pedestrian street (“P Street”), in which case the distance doubles to 2,640 feet. Bus routes and R Districts are not currently TOD-eligible.

Pursuant to the Proposed 2018 Ordinance, TOD eligibility is now extended to certain bus routes and certain R Districts. Properties that are within 1,320 feet of the centerline of an identified Bus Line Corridor Roadway Segment (“Roadway Segment”) or those that are 2,640 feet from the centerline of a Roadway Segment and are located on a P-Street will be TOD eligible. To determine a property’s eligibility for TOD benefits, its distance should be measured from the centerline of the Roadway Segment to the nearest point of its property line.

The high frequency bus lines and their eligible roadway segments identified in the Proposed 2018 Ordinance are listed in Tables 1 and 2 below.

Furthermore, properties in RM5, RM5.5, RM6, and RM6.5 Districts will now be able to reduce parking requirements under the TOD ordinance. Parking requirements for TOD sites are automatically reduced by half for residential uses, and eliminated for non-residential uses. Furthermore, reductions of parking requirements for residential uses can be eliminated entirely if approved by a special use, Type 1 zoning amendment, or planned development approval, as the case may be.

Additionally, the TOD ordinance provides certain development benefits in B-3, C-3, M-3 and D-3 Districts, such as reduced minimum lot area (“MLA”) requirements, increased floor area ratio (“FAR”), and increased building height, subject to certain approval requirements.

The Proposed 2018 Ordinance also requires the City to publish an Equitable Transit Oriented Development Policy Plan within 18 months of the passage of the Proposed 2018 Ordinance to gauge the success of the policy and to consider additional measures for expanding equitable development near transit.

We will update you on the status of the Proposed 2018 Ordinance.

Table 1

Route Name


Chicago/66 Chicago Avenue
79th/79  79th Street 
 Ashland/9 Ashland Avenue 
Ashland Express/X9  Ashland Avenue 
Western/49  Western Avenue 
Garfield/55  Garfield Boulevard 
63rd/63  63rd Street 
Hyde Park Express/2  South Lake Shore Drive 
Jackson Park Express/6  South Lake Shore Drive 
 Jeffrey Jump/J14 South Lake Shore Drive 
South Shore Express/26  South Lake Shore Drive 
Stony Island/28  South Lake Shore Drive 
 Stockton/LaSalle Express/134 North Lake Shore Drive 
Clarendon/LaSalle Express/135  North Lake Shore Drive 
Sheridan/LaSalle Express/135  North Lake Shore Drive 
 Stockton/Michigan Express/143 North Lake Shore Drive 
Inner Drive Michigan Express/146 (on Marine)  North Lake Shore Drive 
Outer Drive Express/147 (on Sheridan)  North Lake Shore Drive 
Clarendon/Michigan Express/148  North Lake Shore Drive 

Table 2 of the proposed the high frequency bus lines and their eligible roadway segments can be found here.

If you have any questions about this amendment and its impact on any pending or future projects, please contact Katriina McGuire or Talar Berberian.