In-Town Zoning Study
Thank you for attending the In-Town Neighborhood Listening Session on December 7th!
On Thursday, December 7th approximately 70 residents attended the Listening Session at the Champaign Public Library. At the sesssion, Rob Kowalski, Assistant Planning and Development Director, gave a presentation on the evolution of the In-Town area as well as an explanation on how the existing zoning districts work. He also provided an overview on the process for making improvements to the In-Town Zoning regulations.
The PowerPoint of the presentation can be viewed here. Following the presentation, participants engaged in a survey activity where they were asked to note what they liked and disliked about 10 different buildings from the neighborhood. Pictures of those buildings were displayed around the room.
Nine City Staff members attended the meeting to listen to residents one-on-one during the exercise. Council members Alicia Beck (District 2) and Greg Stock (District 4) where also present to speak with constituents.
The results of the survey will be posted by December 20. Additional information on next steps will be posted soon as well.
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THE “IN-TOWN” AREA
“In-Town” generally refers to the neighborhoods west and south of Downtown Champaign extending roughly from Columbia Street on the north, Randolph Street on the east, John Street on the south and Prospect Avenue on the west. An additional area of In-Town zoning extends south along the Randolph and State Street corridors from John Street to Avondale Avenue. Many residents also refer to these neighborhoods as “Old Town” although the name of the zoning districts refers to “In-Town.”
IN-TOWN ZONING DISTRICTS
In-Town consists of five separate zoning districts and each one allowing different types of development. The five districts include:
HISTORY OF THE IN-TOWN ZONING DISTRICTS
The In-Town Zoning Districts were implemented in the late 1980s following a neighborhood planning effort focused on the issue of incompatible multi-family redevelopment in the neighborhood. The deterioration of some of the older homes, coupled with the multi-family zoning, led to the demolition and subsequent redevelopment with small to mid-sized apartment buildings in a scattered pattern across the area. Often built “sideways” between two other single family homes to fit on the lot originally platted for a single-family home.
This led to the desire of residents to protect the neighborhood from further incompatible redevelopment and as a result, the new In-Town Zoning District regulations established strict requirements on development of multi-family. This included restricting where multi-family was allowed and limiting the size of buildings. The In-Town Zoning District regulations did not, however, regulate the design of multi-family buildings.
Since the In-Town Zoning Districts were adopted nearly 30 years ago, not much redevelopment has occurred in the neighborhood. However, within the last few years, several new projects have been built indicating a renewed interest in building in In-Town. While these projects were compliant with the In-Town zoning regulations and did not require any special allowances from the City, they are seen by some as changing the character of the neighborhood too much, particularly with their design.
“Zone Champaign” is an effort by the City’s Planning and Development Department to update and modernize the Zoning Ordinance. Recently, the zoning regulations for Downtown, Campustown and Midtown were updated. They are now crafted to better accommodate what is known as “infill development” and in some cases contain basic design requirements so buildings are more attractive and designed to be more accommodating to the neighborhood.
The next update planned for the Zoning Ordinance were improvements to the In-Town zoning regulations. The City’s Comprehensive Plan, called Champaign Tomorrow, does place an emphasis on infill development instead of further expanding the boundaries of the City. However, it is recognized that infill development has to be done carefully and with respect to established neighborhoods. This is where the details of the Zoning Ordinance are very important.
There are no specific changes proposed to the Zoning Ordinance for the In-Town Zoning Districts right now. However, as the Planning Department embarks on drafting proposed changes, input from residents of the area is sought.
- 1988 Existing Land Use Survey Map
- Overview of In-Town Districts
- In-Town Photo Inventory June 2014
- Staff Report to City Council May 2017
- Presentation to City Council May 2017
- City Council Presentation Video May 2017