City Council Passes Anti-Deconversion Ordinances for Pilsen and the 606

January 27, 2021

New zoning ordinances will reduce displacement of low- to moderate-income residents and maintain the existing character and housing stock

City Council today passed two anti-deconversion ordinances, one for Pilsen and one for the immediate areas surrounding the Bloomingdale Trail (the 606), designed to reduce displacement of low- to moderate-income residents and maintain the existing character and housing stock, specifically two- to eight-unit buildings, that often provide naturally occurring affordable housing units. The anti-deconversion ordinance for the 606 is part of the answer to replacing the 606 demolition moratorium, which was enacted as a temporary means of slowing displacement in the residential areas around the Bloomingdale Trail. The ordinance extends the demolition moratorium by two months to April 1, 2021.

"While major cities across our country are experiencing a sharp increase in the number of new developments, whether they be housing or otherwise, it remains imperative that these projects do not lead to the displacement of longterm residents," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Here in Chicago, development does not mean displacement. That's why this ordinance is designed to preserve not only affordable housing in Pilsen and the 606, but also solidify our commitment to protecting the residents and their families who have called these neighborhoods home for decades."

Under current zoning regulations, new construction projects are not required to be of comparable density as the building(s) being replaced, which causes reductions of units and replacement housing that is substantially more expensive. Around the 606, two and three-flat buildings are being demolished or reconverted to fewer units at significantly higher price points. In Pilsen, three to eight-unit buildings are also being replaced by buildings with fewer units. These anti-deconversion ordinances are specifically tailored with solutions that will help ensure the appropriate density in each neighborhood is maintained while helping to stem both displacement of individuals and overall unit loss.

“As we continue our work toward inclusive development that protects existing residents from displacement, expecially in gentrifying areas, these ordinances represent a significant step in ensuring that residents are able to participate in the opportunities spurred by significant development, while remaining in their homes” said DOH Commissioner Marisa Novara.

The anti-deconversion ordinance in the 606 area will permit either two-flats or single-family homes, depending on the makeup of existing buildings on the block. This will apply to RS3 and RS3.5 districts within the area bounded by Armitage Avenue, Western Avenue, North Avenue, Kedzie Avenue, Hirsch Street and Kostner Avenue.

"Our families should be able to call their communities their homes regardless of how neighborhoods grow and change over the years," said Daniel La Spata, 1st Ward Alderman. "With the passage of this ordinance, we will continue to work in partnership with administration and our community leaders to expand efforts that prevent the displacement of Chicagoans, especially our low- and moderate-income residents."

The anti-deconversion ordinance in Pilsen will eliminate as-of-right construction of single-family homes and two-flats in RT4 and all RM districts unless a majority of the lots on the block contain single-family homes or two-flats. The area applies to all parcels zoned RT4, RM4.5, RM.5, RM5.5, RM6 and RM6.5 and within the area bounded by:

  • 16th Street, Newberry Avenue, 18th Street, Peoria Street, Cermak Road, Racine Avenue, 21st Street, Laflin Street, Cermak Road, the alley next east of and parallel to Western Avenue, the alley next north of and parallel to Cermak Road, the alley next east of and parallel to Western Avenue, 19th Street, Western Avenue, the alley next north of and parallel to 18th Place, Leavitt Street, the alley next north of and parallel to 18th Street, Hamilton Avenue, the alley next north of and parallel to the alley next north of and parallel to 18th Street, a line 126 feet west of and parallel to a line 126 feet west of and parallel to Hoyne Avenue, a line 163 feet north of and parallel to the alley next north of and parallel to 18th Street, 17th Street and Wood Street.

The Pilsen and 606 anti-deconversion ordinances are part of Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to equitable economic growth that ensures every resident is able to remain in their homes and share in transformative improvements occurring in their communities. With a similar goal, in September City Council approved the Woodlawn Housing Ordinance that protects residents from displacement and expands homeownership opportunities in the Woodlawn community, the future home of the Obama Presidential Center.

 

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