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City of Bloomington, Indiana

Request for Information: Unified Development Ordinance Updates

The City of Bloomington (the City) is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to select a consultant (or team of consultants) to assist in the development and adoption of updates to the City’s Unified Development Ordinance (the UDO). The UDO is the primary source of land use regulations for the City of Bloomington, including both zoning and subdivision control ordinances. The updated UDO is expected to be complimentary to the soon to be completed Bloomington Comprehensive Plan. The City anticipates that the new UDO will express a progressive vision that promotes thoughtful growth and protects the health, safety, and welfare of the community. Interested parties must submit proposals electronically by Friday, July 14, at 4:00 PM local time (EST).
 

Click here to view the December 2018 Proposed UDO Temporary Amendment 


Click here to view the RFI.

 

Process Schedule:

June 13, 2017: RFI Advertisement

July 7, 2017: Last Day for Addenda Posted by the City

July 14, 2017 (4:00pm EST): Proposal Deadline

July 14 – August 4, 2017*: Response Evaluation

August 11, 2017*: Notify Respondents of Results and Begin Discussions with Selected Respondent

September 5, 2017*: Issue Notice to Proceed (NTP) to Selected Respondent

*Dates indicated are tentative and subject to change as needed

 

Unified Development Ordinance:

The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) governs land use and development throughout the City of Bloomington planning jurisdiction. The UDO was originally adopted in 2007, but has been recently amended to include several new provisions. The updated version of the UDO is effective as of June 6, 2016. 

The UDO may also be purchased in a hard copy format. Color copies may be purchased for approximately $75.00 per copy at Mr. Copy (located at 501 East 10th Street). Black & white copies may be purchased for $15.00 per copy at the City's Planning and Transportation Department (Suite #130 at City Hall).

If you have any questions about the UDO, please contact the Planning and Transportation Department at (812) 349-3423, or send an e-mail.

Unified Development Ordinance - Complete Document

Unified Development Ordinance - Individual Chapters

DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of the information displayed on the following maps is not warranted. The zoning designation of any property must be verified by contacting the City of Bloomington Planning Department.

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Updated December 7, 2017
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed interim amendments to the UDO’s Downtown development standards:


Current UDO:
https://bloomington.in.gov/sites/default/files/2017-07/Unified%20Development%20Ordinance.pdf


What does UDO mean?

UDO = Unified Development Ordinance

The UDO is the primary source of land use regulations for the City of Bloomington, including both zoning and subdivision control ordinances. The updated UDO is expected to complement the soon-to-be-completed Bloomington Comprehensive Plan.


What is Title 20?

A title is a broad category under which ordinances on a related subject are compiled. Title 20 encompasses all ordinances that fall under the UDO category. Bloomington’s UDO has not been updated in over 10 years. Typically, these ordinances are updated much more frequently.


Proposed changes to the UDO:

The city is proposing four changes to the UDO as it relates to the Commercial Downtown (CD) overlay districts.

  1. Reduce the maximum permitted height in all overlays

  2. Reduce the maximum permitted residential density in all downtown overlays except the Showers Technology Park Overlay

  3. Change facade modulation requirements to better define the massing of long buildings

  4. Change review consideration for the Plan Commission to add language about housing issues for projects that don’t meet overlay standards


What does “density” mean in this context?

Density is the permissible number of dwelling units (apartments, condominiums, etc.) that are allowed per acre of land. This is one of the standards examined during site plan review.


What are “modulation requirements”?

The downtown overlays include requirements to break up long, flat building walls. This practice is referred to as building or facade modulation.


What is an overlay?

A zoning overlay is a designated area within city limits that is required to meet a set of standards specifically for that area (aesthetic preferences, dimensions, height limits, etc.). In Bloomington, downtown properties are covered by one of six overlays. A map of the six downtown overlays can be found here: https://bloomington.in.gov/gisdata/mapgallery/Planning-Development/Zoning/DowntownOverlayDistrictMap24x36.pdf


What is “by right” development?

A “by right” project or development proposal meets all current zoning and overlay requirements.  By-right projects are not discretionary but sometimes are required to be reviewed by the Plan Commission.


What is a waiver?

The term “waiver” does not exist in the UDO in the context of downtown site plans. This is a term that staff previously used for petitions that did not meet a specific overlay standard. Since 2007, the Plan Commission has been enabled to approve downtown projects that do not meet all overlay standards if it was found that the project still met the goals and policies of the Growth Policies Plan and the Downtown Vision and Infill Strategy Plan, as well as being a green building or a building with a unique design. The proposed change to the UDO adds in a new consideration for site plans that do not meet all overlay standards. The Plan Commission will also be asked to consider the degree to which a project diversifies downtown housing options, contributes to solving the City’s affordable housing challenge, and/or is environmentally responsible.


What does “maximum height” mean in this context?

Maximum height refers to the greatest height a building can be built under zoning and overlay guidelines. This is measured in number of feet rather than number of stories, as ceiling heights vary. For example, a 3-story building with 12-foot-tall ceilings would be much taller than a 3-story building with 8-foot-tall ceilings.


What does the downtown site plan review process look like?

All site plans are reviewed for compliance with the requirements of the UDO by the staff of the City’s Planning and Transportation Department. Currently, most downtown site plans also are reviewed by the Plan Commission, as most plans request some aspect of design that is outside the requirements of the overlay. The Plan Commission, through a process created in 2007, can approve a site plan that falls outside the overlay standards if they find that the project furthers the City’s goals and policies as spelled out in the Growth Policies Plan and the Downtown Vision and Infill Strategy Plan.


Who manages the development review process?

The City’s Planning and Transportation Department is the point of intake for petitioners proposing to build new or renovate existing property within City limits. The Planning and Transportation Department staff also staff the Plan Commission, which has final approval authority on most downtown site plans.


Is there currently no review process?

All site plans are reviewed per the process outlined above. The only change to the process with the proposed UDO amendments involves items the Plan Commission should look at when reviewing downtown site plans that do not meet all the standards of the respective overlay. The Plan Commission, through a process created in 2007, can approve a site plan that falls outside the overlay standards if they find that the project furthers the City’s goals and policies as spelled out in the Growth Policies Plan and the Downtown Vision and Infill Strategy Plan. In addition to these documents, the UDO encourages the Plan Commission to consider green developers and architecturally unique developments. The proposed UDO amendment also would encourage the Plan Commission to consider the degree to which a site plan diversifies downtown housing or contributes to solving the city’s affordable housing challenges.


Will the review process change when the Comprehensive Plan is adopted?

No, the review process will remain consistent after the adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. The City is working with planning consulting firm Clarion Associates, which will be guiding the process of updating the UDO after adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. This process is expected to take one year.


Will this deter development in Bloomington?

This ordinance is designed to support the quality of development in Bloomington, not to deter it.  As the Indiana city with the highest housing costs, Bloomington needs both more housing and a greater range of affordability for housing. Greater density, appropriately and thoughtfully located, likely will need to evolve in order to meet our housing needs. The ordinance, if adopted, would lower the threshold that would require a higher level of scrutiny. The ordinance is a tool the Plan Commission can use to ensure that each project will have a positive impact on our community.

Downtown Bloomington will remain open for business to the development community during the period of time that the interim ordinance is in effect, should the ordinance be adopted by the Plan Commission and the City Council. The period of time is expected to be approximately one year. The City encourages potential downtown developers to meet with Planning and Transportation Department staff to talk about their plans. The City will continue its commitment to appropriate, high-quality development in the city, particularly in the Downtown.


Why is the City proposing this now?

The City currently is in a transitional period between the 2002 Growth Policies Plan and the soon-to-be-adopted Comprehensive Plan (Comp Plan). More than fifteen years have passed since the last update to the City’s guidance for the built environment, and much has changed in the community during this time. The Unified Development Ordinance, or Title 20 of the City of Bloomington’s Municipal Code, also must be updated to reflect the changes and direction of the new Comp Plan. This update should be completed within the next 12-14 months.


Who will this impact?

This interim proposal would only impact projects that do not have a completed application currently on file with the City’s Planning and Transportation Department. It would not be retroactive.


Where can I find the current language of Title 20?

The current language of Title 20, the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), can be found below, but this does not include the proposed changes that will need to be approved by the Plan Commission and City Council. https://library.municode.com/in/bloomington/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT20UNDEOR