Residential developments in TOD areas no longer need to obtain relief from the Pedestrian Street transparency requirement

This zoning code brief is useful for architects, their developer clients, permit expeditors, and zoning attorneys.

The Chicago City Council adopted minor changes to the zoning code in ordinance SO2022-3785 on January 18, 2023 (the S means a substitute ordinance, different from the original proposal, was passed). 

The main changes were technical changes to the code, including eliminating text referring to code that was removed in July 2022, and adding some missing keywords that don't affect the standards. 

The substantial change in the code is that the requirement for developments in transit-served locations (TSL, but we also call them TOD areas) to comply with "Pedestrian Street" standards has been relaxed for residential developments. 

The requirement is that buildings subject to the standard had to have a minimum amount of transparency on the ground floor, but that doesn't work well for residential uses where there are dwelling units on the ground floor. The relevant standard is shown in the screenshot below. 

This standard is not part of Chicago Cityscape's Zoning Assessment, so no changes to our platform have been made.

Screenshot of the aforementioned code section

The technical change to the code is that any new construction in B, C, and D zoning districts must comply with the Pedestrian Street design standards in 17-3-0504 or 17-4-0504 (depending if the zoning district is B/C or D) except subsection (C), which is the standard displayed above.