Zoning Reform

policy-initiatives-zoningFor historic communities throughout Chicago that have been or may one day be threatened by inappropriate development, properly planning for responsible growth has often been a challenge. Historic landmark district designation by the city is the most effective preservation tool offered. Unfortunately, many communities are not eligible for this designation. In these cases, community members can utilize other available land-use planning tools, such as zoning.

Because the regulatory powers of zoning only relate to the height, bulk, and setbacks of buildings, zoning alone cannot ultimately prevent demolition or inappropriate alterations to historic structures. However, Preservation Chicago believes that historic communities that do not qualify for landmark protection can use zoning, to a certain extent, to promote and enhance historic preservation.

In addition, Preservation Chicago remains concerned that the frequent misuse and abuse of the Chicago Zoning Ordinance continues to have a deleterious effect on both individual historic buildings as well as historic communities.

To that end, Preservation Chicago commits to continue:

  • monitoring the application and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance
  • advocating for reforms to the Chicago Zoning Ordinance
  • proposing new polices, like Renovation Zoning, that strengthen neighborhood preservation