Rogers Park is first to remap with new zoning code - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Rogers Park is first to remap with new zoning code

North side community uses MPC’s Zoning Change Strategy, creating a new Chicago model for remapping

Rogers Park residents can have their final say on updates to the neighborhood’s residential and retail development rules by attending one of four public hearings slated for the last two weeks of September. Proposed zoning changes will be presented at the hearings, capping off a two-year community process spearheaded by Ald. Joe Moore (49th Ward) to apply the city’s recently revamped zoning code to Rogers Park.

Ald. Moore is the first Chicago alderman to propose comprehensive changes throughout his ward since the city adopted the new zoning code in November 2004. To ensure Rogers Park residents had a strong role in determining what to preserve and what to change, the alderman enlisted the help of the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), a nonprofit, nonpartisan planning advocate, and designer of the Zoning Change Strategy. The strategy, adaptable to any neighborhood, outlines a step-by-step guide for a community-based remapping process.

“It’s important that residents have a role in determining how their neighborhoods evolve, which is why MPC worked with Ald. Moore and Rogers Park r esidents to help them undertake a comprehensive survey of their neighborhood,” said Heather Campbell, manager of MPC’s Community Building Initiative. “When carefully and thoughtfully applied as part of a community-based process, zoning can be a powerful tool to preserve local character and enhance quality of life.”

Campbell will be on hand when Ald. Moore presents the zoning recommendations to the community at the upcoming public hearings, to take place on Sept. 20, 22, 26 and 29, all beginning at 7 p.m., at various locations in Rogers Park. Full details for each meeting are available by clicking on “Ward Zoning Remap” on the left side of the Ward 49 Web site, .

Anticipating the new zoning code – which previously had not been updated since 1957 – Ald. Moore began recruiting community remapping volunteers in August 2003. Volunteers received a tutorial on basic zoning concepts, taught by MPC representatives, and then 30 of them took to the streets, evaluating neighborhood assets to preserve and challenged areas in need of change. They logged dozens of miles and hundreds of pages of notes, identifying each parcel along their route, whether a vacant storefront, single-family home, or courtyard apartment building.

After analyzing the data collected by volunteers, MPC worked with the alderman and the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to develop recommendations for zoning changes. The Council, Ald. Moore and DPD will present these recommendations to the community at the public hearings. If the community accepts the recommendations, then the city will write ordinances reflecting the proposed changes and submit them for approval by the full City Council.

“Rogers Park was a successful pilot for the Zoning Change Strategy, proving that with enthusiastic partners and city expertise to see the changes through, a community-led zoning process can work in any neighborhood,” said Peter Skosey, MPC vice president of external relations. “We hope that many other communities follow suit, putting the city’s new zoning code to work for them.”

For more information about MPC’s Zoning Change Strategy, visit ; or contact Mandy Burrell , MPC communications associate, at 312-863-6018 or

Founded in 1934, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group of business and civic leaders committed to serving the public interest through the promotion and implementation of sensible planning and development policies necessary for an economically competitive Chicago region. MPC researches and develops policy recommendations and conducts outreach and advocacy in partnership with public officials and community leaders to enhance equity of opportunity and quality of life throughout metropolitan Chicago.

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