Understanding zoning ordinances in Chicago

Chicago real estate developments must comply with specific ordinances in order to ensure that the goals of the city are maintained. These goals include ensuring that there is review of proposals for major development, promoting development patterns that are to the economic benefit of the city, protecting natural resources and encouraging unified development and allowing flexibility so that creative building and urban designs are implemented.

Chicago ordinances provide that all applications for planned development must be under single ownership. Once an ordinance is established and the property is divided into specific parcels or areas, the owner for each such parcel or area can petition the court for an amendment or modification without having to receive the consent of the owner or controlling party of the surrounding area. Additionally, the individual who originally applies for the development project may assign or have another party succeed him or her.

Planned developments might include only one building and one purpose, or it may include multiple buildings for multiple uses. Additionally, they may include multiple lots that are developed as units simultaneously or through a phasing-in process. The zoning ordinances in Chicago are not meant to supersede existing zoning rights agreements, restrictive covenants or other agreements between owners. However, an owner cannot unilaterally petition for a modification or amendment that would reduce density, bulk, parking or other development that is available to subareas or that would affect another owner's rights to access the premises or that would reduce the area of walkways or other designs that apply to one or multiple areas.

Individuals who are interested in developing areas in Chicago may begin the process by reviewing ordinances regarding this development. A commercial law attorney may be able to review the relevant ordinances to determine if the proposed development is in compliance.

Source: American Legal Publishing Corporation, "Chicago Zoning and Land Use Ordinance ", October 29, 2014

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