How does the proposed North Branch Implementation Ordinance relate to the North Branch Framework Plan?
The ordinance would implement key recommendations of the North Branch plan, including the repeal of some or all of existing Planned Manufacturing Districts (PMDs) in the northern and southern portions of the corridor and the creation and expansion of special funds paid by developers to support business growth in the corridor and throughout the city.
Why is the City proposing to repeal portions of the corridor’s PMD zoning?
The North Branch PMDs were designated more than 25 years ago to protect heavy industry throughout the corridor. Since that time, corridor land uses and employment trends have substantially shifted away from manufacturing to other uses. As a result, the northern and southern portions of the corridor no longer qualify for the designation.
Why is the City proactively changing the PMDs instead of letting property owners do it themselves?
A piecemeal approach to repealing PMD zoning could lead to unpredictable land use patterns that impede private development and investment, generate land use conflicts that impact existing businesses, and foster uncertainties involving potential development parameters for the corridor. The City's proactive change instead provides a comprehensive approach as part of a publicly adopted plan that supports coordinated growth and investment.
What will replace the PMD zoning?
When the PMDs are repealed, the zoning will revert to the district designations that existed prior to the PMD designation. The northern portion of the North Branch will revert primarily to Manufacturing (M3-3). The southern portion will revert primarily to Downtown Service (DS-5), which is the equivalent designation of the former districts (M4 and M5) that were eliminated from Zoning Code terminology in 2004.
What is the difference between PMD, M and DS zoning?
PMD and M both permit industrial and manufacturing uses, very limited office and retail uses, and no residential uses. DS permits commercial, retail and office uses, industrial and manufacturing uses, and no residential uses.
How would the new M and DS designations relate to future development projects?
Property owners and developers may pursue projects based on the proposed M and DS designations, or they may seek additional zoning changes that align with the North Branch Framework Plan. The possible changes could include Business (B) and Commercial (C) designations in the north and Downtown Mixed-Use (DX) in the south. Projects near the waterway will continue to be required to move forward as Planned Developments (PD), which require an increased level of public scrutiny and land use planning. All future changes would be subject to additional review processes that include community meetings and public hearings before the Plan Commission and City Council.
Will any existing businesses be prevented from operating by the new designations?
All existing businesses will be permitted to continue.
Why don’t the proposed changes include a designation for Public Open Space (POS)?
Upon repeal, the PMDs will revert to their previous zoning designation. No portion of the North Branch possessed a designation for public open space when the corridor PMDs were created more than 25 years ago.
Is the North Branch zoning change process occurring faster than it should?
The process started in spring 2016. Over the last year, the City has hosted more than two dozen public meetings, solicited written comments, provided regular web site updates, and performed other outreach efforts to solicit input on the current zoning and land use changes. The resulting Framework, along with its plan for implementation, were unanimously approved by Plan Commission.
How can the public provide additional input on these proposed zoning changes?
Written comments may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Verbal or written comments may be provided at the meetings below:
Chicago Plan Commission
City Council Committee