Innovation in Government: Bloomington’s Development Review Process
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Innovation in Government: Bloomington’s Development Review Process

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Tom Micuda, Planning Director for the City of Bloomington, gave a presentation on the city's development review process for the 2012 Inter-City Visit to Bloomington, IN.

Tom Micuda, Planning Director for the City of Bloomington, gave a presentation on the city's development review process for the 2012 Inter-City Visit to Bloomington, IN.

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  • 1. Bloomington’sDevelopment ReviewProcess
  • 2. Speed of Process Process has always been fast In 1990s, Plan Commission meetings 3 weeks apart. In spring, sometimes 2 weeks apart. 1990s – Typical processing time for zoned development – 30-40 days; rezoning – 90-120 days
  • 3. Predictability of Process 1980s/early 1990s – process extremely unpredictable – Environmental Commission – Outdated ordinance/comprehensive plan – Staff overwhelmed; didn’t coordinate with other departments – Result: Large number of rezoning cases for suburban residential development; industrial/commercial upzones
  • 4. Steps to become morepredictable 1991 comprehensive plan 1993 Environmental Review Coordinator 1995 zoning ordinance – Plat Committee for subdivisions – Hearing Officer for simple variances – Overlay zoning for density instead of PUDs – Staff delegation for PUD final plans 1998 – Overhauled Development Review Process – hired consultant
  • 5. 1998 Changes Development Review Committee Development Review Schedule – 40 days for zoned property – Plan Commission meetings 4-5 weeks apart – Rezoning cases – 120 days
  • 6. 2002 ComprehensivePlan/2007 UDO Architectural standards for downtown development (no design review committee) Plan Commission review limited to: – Downtown – Large residential; nonresidential site plans – Projects near SR3 – Use Variance recommendations; rezonings Council – Right-of-way vacations; rezoning; PUDs Most code deviations handled by Plan Commission/BZA
  • 7. How Bloomington’s processbecame more predictable Objectively evaluated development review process – DRC Limited interest group involvement (environmental, bike/ped, historic) Updated codes/comprehensive plan Extremely experienced development review staff Just say ‘No’ to bad discretionary development proposals
  • 8. Form-Based ZoningCode Bloomington doesn’t have one; downtown development code is essentially form-based Many core neighborhoods have been placed into Conservation Districts with form-based guidelines for construction Will be discussing form-based code with comprehensive plan update Will likely be Bloomington’s next zoning code Doesn’t solve development review process challenges