Connected Communities Ordinance
Connected Communities is the result of two years of engagement with over 80 community and civic stakeholders to build a truly equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD) policy.
The Connected Communities Ordinance advances equitable development and thriving neighborhoods near transit, developed in partnership with Elevated Chicago and over 80 stakeholders by the Mayor’s Office and the Departments of Planning and Development, of Housing, and of Transportation to reflect Chicago’s ETOD Policy Plan and inclusive growth goals overall.
This ordinance, adopted by City Council in July 2022, will attract reinvestment and create jobs by encouraging and creating predictable standards for equitable development near transit. It will support Chicago’s economic recovery and foster thriving neighborhoods across the entire city so that every Chicagoan is able to live in a vibrant, healthy and affordable community that connects them to transit and makes it easier for them to get to what they need — from jobs and schools to services and more.
Ordinance provisions are organized into the following 3 categories:
- Create jobs and allow for more homes and businesses near transit by expanding existing TOD incentives.
- Improve the safety of our streets and sidewalks near transit, and encourage walking, biking, and rolling.
- Increase housing opportunity, affordability and accessibility, especially near transit.
For more details on the major provisions of the ordinance, see the comprehensive Connected Communities Ordinance explainer or view the one-pager for a specific provision below.
How much off-street parking are you required to include in projects? When can you reduce that amount? By how much? What are parking maximums?
What density incentives are available in TOD areas? How do they interact with affordability requirements? How do you get approval for additional density?
How can developments swap square footage for parking to instead be used for affordable housing?
What are the new guidelines with respect to pedestrian, bicycle, and wheelchair-friendly design for new construction near transit?
How can zoning applications with an affordability component ensure a vote in City Council committee?
How can smaller buildings, like a 2-flat, receive zoning incentives if they include an accessible unit?
Definitions of technical terms and policies
The Chicago Department of Housing hosted a webinar targeted for local developers explaining how the new zoning rules in the Connected Communities Ordinance apply to different development scenarios involving parcels near transit.
The presentation focused on the expanded geographic eligibility for TOD incentives, increased flexibility in parking requirements, strengthened links between TOD density bonuses and on-site affordability, new “parking swap bonus”, and more, for the following four scenarios:
- Rehabbing an older building to add housing;
- Building new multifamily housing;
- Building a new three-flat
- Renovating an existing three-flat.
The Connected Communities Ordinance is the product of deep collaboration and partnership across city departments, sister agencies, community-based organizations, and civic & regional experts. Key milestones include:
- 2018: TOD ordinance update directs administration to create an equitable TOD plan
- 2019-2020: Engagement with over 80 community stakeholders and experts to create a draft ETOD plan
- 2020-2021: Robust public engagement period on draft ETOD plan, which reached over 330 Chicagoans in 41 meetings for community feedback and included 59 total public comment letters from organizations and individuals.
- June 2021: City publishes final ETOD plan revised based on public comments, then unanimously approved and adopted by Chicago Plan Commission
- July 2022: City Council Adoption of Connected Communities Ordinance
For more details:
- See this 1-page summary
- Read a presentation outlining the regulatory reforms
- Review the full text of the final zoning ordinance
- Reference the City of Chicago Zoning Map to see the eligibility of parcels for Transit-Served Location (TSL) benefits by TSL rail station or TSL bus route
- Reference the Center for Neighborhood Technology ETOD Social Impact Calculator to see how economic and affordable housing development near public transit can benefit communities