In-Town Zoning Study

September 19, 2018 Update

On September 18, 2018 the Champaign City Council adopted Council Bill 2018-149 which adopted the new zoning regulations for the In-Town Zoning Districts.  The new regulations provide standards regulating the size of buildings in each district along with design standards for multi-family buildings among other changes.  The regulations went into effect on September 19, 2018.  The Code Revision Sheet can be found here.  It provides a strikethrough and underline version of what was removed from the old zoning regulations and what was inserted as the new zoning regulations.  Please contact the Champaign Planning and Development Department with any questions at 403-8800

August 29, 2018 Update

The In-Town Zoning Amendments are proposed for adoption.  On Wednesday, September 5th the Champaign Plan Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed amendments.  The Plan Commission meets at 4:00pm in the Champaign City Council Chambers, 102 North Neil Street, Champaign.  You can view the Staff Report to the Plan Commission here.   You can view the Agenda for the September 5th Plan Commission meeting here.

The Plan Commission meeting is a public meeting and you are invited to give input.   You can either provide comments in writing in advance or speak at the meeting.  Speakers are afforded 5 minutes to give their comments.  If you want to send written comments you can email them to  They will be given to the Plan Commission members for their review.

It is expected that the Plan Commission will make their recommendation on the case to the Champaign City Council.  The City Council would consider the case at their Regular Meeting on September 18, 2018.  This is also a public meeting and there is an opportunity for input.  The agenda for that meeting will be released on Thursday, September 13 on the city’s website.  That meeting is also held in the City Council Chambers, 102 North Neil Street, Champaign.

August 9, 2018 Update

Thank you for attending the In-Town Neighborhood Meeting held last week on August 2nd at the Champaign Public Library.  The questions and comments received at the meeting were helpful in finalizing the proposed amendments to the Champaign Zoning Ordinance as they pertain to the In-Town Zoning Districts.

Click here to view the presentation slides from the August 2nd Neighborhood Meeting.

The amendments will be presented to the Champaign Plan Commission at a public hearing on Wednesday, September 5th at 4:00pm in the City Council Chambers at 102 North Neil Street, Champaign.  This is a public meeting and any interested person can give input on the case.  The Plan Commission will consider the case and is expected to make a recommendation to the City Council for final consideration.

Understanding that it can be a little overwhelming to read proposed code language in a strikethrough/underlined format, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to call the Planning and Development Department at 403-8800 or email Rob Kowalski, Assistant Planning and Development Director at  Additionally, if you have any comments you wish to have included with the materials to the Plan Commission, you can email those to the email address above as well.

July 25, 2018 Update

The process to update the In-Town Zoning District regulations is in the home stretch.  You can learn about the proposed amendments a couple different ways.  First, a public meeting will be held at the Champaign Public Library on August 2nd (see below).  Second, City Staff will be giving a presentation to the Champaign Plan Commission on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 4:00pm in the Champaign City Council Chambers.  This is a public meeting which you can attend or watch on CGTV Channel 5.  No action will be taken at this meeting, it’s just to familiarize the Plan Commission with the proposed amendments.

A more detailed schedule of the process to adopt the amendments can be found here.

A summary of the proposed amendment can be found here.

A map of the existing In Town Zoning Districts can be found here.

Thank you again for your interest in this process and the input you have provided along the way.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Planning and Development Department at 217-403-8800.

July 10, 2018 Update

As highlighted in the June 6th update below, the City Council held a Study Session on June 12, 2018 to discuss the conceptual amendments for the In-Town Zoning Districts.  You can view the meeting on CGTV here.  You can read the Staff Report to the City Council here.  Finally, you can download the presentation given to City Council that night here.

So, what’s next?

A neighborhood meeting has been scheduled regarding the In-Town Zoning Amendments:

Proposed In-Town Zoning Amendments
Neighborhood Meeting
Thursday, August 2nd / 6:30pm
Champaign Public Library
Robeson Room A and B

At the meeting, City Staff will present an overview of the proposed changes, explain how they differ from the current regulations, and be available to take input and answer your questions.

***  Please note, this meeting is specific to the work being done for the In-Town Zoning Districts and is not about the proposed changes to the zoning regulations impacting the Clark Park neighborhood. ***

If you would like a preview of the presentation that will be given at the public meeting, tune in to, or attend, the Champaign Plan Commission on Wednesday, August 1st at 4:00pm in the City Building Council Chambers.  Staff will orient the Plan Commission with the proposals and take initial feedback.  No action will be taken at this meeting – the presentation is for their information.  The meeting will be available on CGTV Channel 5 and online.

What’s the overall schedule?

Following the neighborhood meeting on August 2nd, City Staff will begin preparing the zoning amendments for formal adoption.  This requires a public hearing with the Plan Commission (tentatively scheduled for September 5) and final adoption by City Council (tentatively scheduled for September 18).  Watch for additional updates on the schedule.

As usual, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 403-8800.

June 6, 2018 Update

City Council Study Session on conceptual In-Town Zoning Ordinance Amendments

With input from a Resident Working Group and a Developer/Architect Working Group, City Staff has drafted conceptual amendments for the In-Town Zoning Districts.  They are considered “conceptual” at this point because they are not drafted as formal code language.  The amendments focus on three primary areas including, 1) District Name, Purpose Statement and Land Uses; 2) Proposed Development Standards; and 3) Proposed Design Standards for Multi-Family Buildings.  Together, these three components would become the revised regulations for the In-Town Zoning Districts.  The proposals do not include rezoning any property to different zoning districts, they only impact the rules for building within the existing districts.  No rezonings will be proposed as part of this effort.  You can review the conceptual amendments here.  Once the conceptual amendments are vetted, they will be drafted into formal code language and proposed for adoption later this summer.

On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, City Council will be given a presentation from Staff on the conceptual amendments.  They will also be presented with the process to date and the remaining process to complete the amendments.  This meeting, referred to as a Study Session, is open to the public and there will be an opportunity for input.  The meeting begins at 7:00 PM and will be held in the Council Chambers of the City Building at 102 North Neil Street, Champaign.  If you are interested but cannot attend the meeting on June 12, you can also watch it on CGTV Channel 5.  You can read the Staff Report to the City Council here.  It includes the proposed “conceptual” amendments.

Finally, a neighborhood meeting is being organized for July 2018.  The date is not determined yet.  But, at this meeting, Staff will present the conceptual amendments and take input from interested attendees.  This meeting will be advertised further once a date is chosen.

April 18, 2018 Update

Work has been progressing on updating the In-Town Zoning Regulations.

Following a public meeting held on December 7, 2017 (see below), City Council adopted a 180-day Interim Development Ordinance (IDO) to halt the issuance of new building permits in several of the In-Town Zoning Districts while the existing Zoning Ordinance regulations are updated (also see below).  Since that time, a small working group of residents from the Old Town Neighborhood Association and the Hill Street Neighborhood Association have met four times to discuss changes that could improve the zoning regulations for the In-Town Districts.  The focus of the discussion has been on the land uses allowed in the districts, the development standards for buildings and potential design standards for buildings.  These meetings have been productive and will result in draft proposals that will be shared with the neighborhood for additional input prior to be proposed for adoption.

In addition to working with neighborhood residents, City Staff will soon meet with a focus group of those interested in developing within the neighborhood to solicit their feedback on potential changes to the regulations.

The goal of these sessions with residents and property owners/developers is to collect input, balance interests and ultimately propose regulations that are beneficial for the neighborhood and fair to existing property owners.

Additional 90 days approved for the existing Interim Development Ordinance

In order to gather adequate input and draft amendments, Staff has determined that an additional 90 days is necessary for the current IDO.  The current IDO is scheduled to expire at the end of June.  This would push that date to the end of September.  City Council approved the proposed extension at their Regular Meeting on June 5, 2018.   Again, the IDO limits the issuance of new building permits in several of the In-Town Zoning Districts.

Next Opportunity for Public Input

With the help of the Resident Working Group and with input from other interests, Staff will be assembling draft proposals for amending the regulations.  These proposals will be presented at a neighborhood meeting so residents can understand the proposals and provide comment.  The date/time/location of that meeting is still being determined but it is targeted for July 2018.  Please check back to this page for updated information or contact City Staff.  Notice will be sent to the neighborhood in advance of the next meeting.

January 4, 2018 Update

Proposed Interim Development Ordinance (IDO) for three In-Town Zoning Districts

In response to neighborhood concerns and input at recent public meetings, Staff proposed an Interim Development Ordinance (often referred to as a “moratorium”), or IDO, for a period of 180 days while the existing In-Town Zoning regulations are under review.  The City Council approved the IDO and it went into effect on January 1, 2018.  It is set to expire on June 30, 2018.

The IDO placed limitations on development in the IT-MF, In-Town Multi-Family, IT-MX, In-Town Mixed Use and IT-NC, In-Town Neighborhood Conservation Zoning Districts.  The IDO does not impact the IT-SF1, In-Town Single-Family or IT-SF2, In-Town Single and Two-Family Zoning Districts.

More information can be found here.

December 7, 2017 Public Meeting

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.

Results of the December 7, 2017 Public Meeting

A summary of the public comments provided at the December 7, 2017 public meeting held at the Champaign Public Library can be found here.

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“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.”

Zoning Map of the In-Town Area


In-Town consists of five separate zoning districts and each one allowing different types of development.  The five districts include:

The IT-SF1 district allows primarily single-family residential although two-family homes are allowed and existing homes can be converted to up to two units. Other uses such as schools, daycares, etc. are allowed in the district with restrictions.

The IT-SF2 district allows primarily single and two-family residential although existing homes can be converted up to three units. Other uses such as schools, daycares, etc. are allowed in the district with restrictions.

The IT-MF district allows primarily residential including low and mid-rise apartment buildings. Existing homes can also be converted to apartment units or office use. Other uses such as schools, daycares, hospitals, etc. are allowed in the district with restrictions.

The IT-MX district allows variety of uses including residential (single to multi-family), offices, clinics, etc. This district allows for the greatest range of uses and is located mostly on the busy streets.

The IT-NC district allows a primarily residential ranging from single-family to apartment buildings. The district also allows existing building to be converted to apartments or even offices. Other uses such as schools, daycares, hospitals, etc. are allowed in the district.



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.


Original 1988 In-Town Plan


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.

509 South Elm Street

213 West Green Street

408 South Prairie Street


“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.