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Everything You Need to Know About Rahm's Proposed TOD Ordinance Changes


The Original Plan: In 2013, City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s TOD ordinance. Developers were eligible for incentives if projects were built within 600 feet of a public transit station, and up to 1,200 feet from pedestrian-designated streets (called P-Streets).

The Debate: The ordinance contained a clause under which developers could seek relief from P-Street minimum parking requirements via administrative hearings. Originally, developers could build parking-free commercial projects.

What's New: Rahm's changes expand a TOD’s radius to a quarter-mile near a transit station and a half-mile from a P-street. Developers don't need to meet parking requirements if a project includes one bike parking spot per unit, or offers transportation alternatives such as bike or car sharing kiosks. A more streamlined process to green-light developments is also promised.

Why the Need for Changes? The changes closely align with the Metropolitan Planning Council’s “Grow Chicago” initiative aiming to expand TODs beyond downtown, River North, River West and Chicago’s other hot neighborhoods for development. MPC estimates the changes will curb the population loss in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park that lack TODs while generating $400M in economic activity and $100M in tax revenue annually. Developers can save money that would have been allocated to building parking spots and instead increase projects' density.