After setting a stop time of 10:30 p.m. for its meeting on Wednesday night, Bloomington’s city council managed to grind through eight ordinances that change the city’s basic law on land use, which is the unified development ordinance (UDO).
Wednesday’s meeting ended just as the clock hit half past 10 o’clock.
The votes on all eight ordinances were unanimous on the nine-member council, even if the votes on some proposed amendments were split.
A few of the ordinances were technical corrections or clarifications that were so uncontroversial that they received no council debate or public comment, before passing on a 9–0 vote.
That means out of the 10-ordinance package that was recommended to the city council by the city’s plan commission, just two pieces of legislation are left for consideration.
The two remaining ordinances, which are controversial, will get their first deliberations on Wednesday (April 29) next week, at a committee-of-the-whole session.
One of the disputed ordinances covers the allowed use of duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes in residential neighborhoods where they’re currently not allowed.
On Wednesday night, Bloomington’s city council took a half hour to complete the tedious process of introducing 10 separate ordinances that would change the city’s basic law on land use in the city.
After that, in just about three hours, the council wrapped up its initial discussion on eight of the ordinances. That sets up a possible vote to enact them at the council’s regular meeting next Wednesday, April 21.
The remaining two ordinances will almost certainly require more time in front of the city council, just as they did previously when the plan commission heard them.
They’re controversial enough that they’ve led to competing websites and yard signs.
One of the disputed ordinances covers the allowed use of duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes in residential neighborhoods. The other ordinance is the proposed new citywide zoning map.
The city council will take a first crack at the two more controversial ordinances, starting April 28 when it convenes a committee-of-the-whole session.
Even if the eight ordinances discussed by the council on Wednesday cover less contentious ground than the other two, they aren’t without their own controversies. And it could be too heavy a lift for the council, at next Wednesday’s regular session, to take votes on all eight.
On Wednesday, councilmembers indicated that they’d like to propose amendments to some of the eight ordinances. Debate and public commentary on any amendments will factor into the time it takes to complete the council’s work on the eight pieces of legislation.
Thursday night was the second session of the Bloomington city council’s ongoing consideration of amendments to the city’s update of the unified development ordinance.
The council voted on two amendments, approving both. One was co-sponsored by councilmembers Dave Rollo and Chris Sturbaum. It eliminated duplexes and triplexes as possible uses of land in core neighborhoods. The tally was 6–2 on the nine-member council. Allison Chopra was absent.
The other amendment approved by the council on Thursday changed the status of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) from a conditional use, which requires a public review process, to a by-right use. A by-right use eliminates the public review process, but does not eliminate use-specific standards.
For ADUs, the use-specific standards include: a limit of one ADU per lot; a requirement that only lots greater than the minimum size for the zoning district are allowed to have an ADU; a maximum of two bedrooms; and a limit of one family. The vote that made ADUs by-right was 5–3.
The Bloomington city council’s hearing of a proposed update to the unified development ordinance (UDO) has already stretched across four separate evenings recently, starting with the first one on Oct. 16. It was followed by meetings on Oct. 22, Oct. 23 and Oct. 30.
The hearings each night on the city’s basic land use and development document consisted of staff presentations, councilmember questions, and opportunities for citizens to sway their elected representatives.
Several amendments—starting with duplexes, triplexes, accessory dwelling units, and payments in lieu of providing onsite affordable units—are a part of the information packet for the council’s Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 meetings.
The 90-day window for city council action started a few days after the plan commission’s vote, when the outcome was certified to the council.
Bloomington’s plan commission voted 9–0 Monday night to recommend adoption of a revised version of the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO) to the city council. That starts a 10-day clock ticking for the commission’s action to be certified. Once certified, the city council has 90-days to act on the commission’s recommendation.
The 19 hours and 9 minutes worth of hearings held by the commission, starting in late August, were on occasion punctuated by contentious remarks delivered from the public podium. Particular points of controversy were duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes in core neighborhoods, as well as accessory dwelling units.
The recommended UDO that the city council will take up, probably starting in mid-October, makes accessory dwelling units conditional uses. An amendment approved by the planning commission in the last couple of weeks changed them from accessory uses to conditional uses.