Boomtown: Houston poised to overtake Chicago as country’s third-largest city by 2025

Downtown Houston. (eflon / Wikimedia Commons)

Downtown Houston. (eflon / Wikimedia Commons)

The Texas metropolis of Houston is famous (or perhaps infamous) for its sprawling footprint. But as recent census numbers affirm, that growth reflects more than just a lack of zoning—within 10 years, more people will live in Houston than Chicago, according to information from health departments in Illinois and Texas. (Read AN‘s feature examining Houston’s first General Plan here.)

Continue reading after the jump.

Developer Andrew Frey on aesthetics versus urbanism in Miami’s building codes

2020 Salzedo rental homes in Coral Gables. (Courtesy Andrew Frey / Codina)

2020 Salzedo rental homes in Coral Gables. (Courtesy Andrew Frey / Codina)

When it comes to navigating Miami’s zoning codes, Tecela principal Andrew Frey brings an experience-based advantage to the table. Before transitioning to the business side of development in early 2011, he spent six years as a zoning lawyer. “I always wanted to be a developer, and I learned a lot from my developer clients,” recalled Frey.

Read more after the jump.

Growing Tall and Going Big: San Francisco studied density bonuses to generate affordable housing

Development, West
Monday, August 31, 2015
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San Francisco (gags9999)

San Francisco (gags9999/Flickr)

This Fall, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will consider a proposal made by the city’s Planning Department concerning the possibility of “relaxing” height and density limits for many of San Francisco’s western neighborhoods. If enacted, the program expects to transform some of San Francisco’s uninhabited residences and unused space into affordable housing units for newcomers.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel floats ordinance to fast-track transit-oriented development, reduce parking minimums

Currently under construction, 2211 N. Milwaukee Ave. is one of several TOD projects planned near Chicago transit stations. (Brininstool + Lynch)

Currently under construction, 2211 N. Milwaukee Ave. is one of several TOD projects planned near Chicago transit stations. (Brininstool + Lynch)

This week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will push a plan to expand transit-oriented development (TOD) by easing zoning restrictions and releasing certain projects from parking requirements altogether.

Continue reading after the jump.

How New York’s “Poor Door” was allowed to exist in the first place

40 Riverside's facade. (Courtesy Extell)

40 Riverside’s facade. (Courtesy Extell)

In the past week, those two words—”poor door”—have quickly come to signify the vast inequality embedded in New York City’s housing market. At issue is a separate entrance for tenants living in subsidized rental units in a luxury condo building on the Upper West Side known as 40 Riverside. The property, developed by Extell, was financed through the city’s inclusionary housing program, which grants a tax abatement and additional bulk to developers who include a certain portion of “affordable” units in a project.

Continue reading after the jump.

New York City Zoning Board Burns Studio Gang’s “Solar Carve” Tower Along the High Line

Development, East, Midwest, News
Friday, February 21, 2014
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(Courtesy Studio Gang)

(Courtesy Studio Gang)

Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects announced plans for their New York debut in late 2012. The proposed building, located near the High Line along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, features a serrated edge that maximizes daylight on the elevated park next door—Jeanne Gang called it “solar carving.”

But the legal path to realizing that faceted glass facade had some unexpected kinks of its own.

Continue reading after the jump.

Chicago Mulls Zoning Changes To Ward Off Mountains of Petcoke

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago's Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman via Flickr)

Petcoke stored along the Calumet River on Chicago’s Southeast Side, between 106th and 100th streets. (Josh Mogerman / Flickr)

Piles of dusty, black waste from coal and petroleum processing have been piling up on Chicago’s southeast side, angering residents and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to weigh in on the contentious environmental issue.

The Sun-Times has reported that Emanuel will introduce an ordinance at next month’s City Council meeting banning new storage facilities for so-called petcoke—a byproduct of the oil refinery process that can be sold overseas. It’s a step back from an outright ban proposed in December by Alderman Edward Burke, whose constituents were outraged by black dust clouds wafting from uncovered piles of petcoke along the Calumet River. Read More

NYC Passes Zoning For Commercial Development on Governors Island.  Governors Island (Courtesy of The Trust Governors Island) Yesterday City Council green lighted new zoning to allow commercial development in 40 historic structures on Governors Island. This change will introduce restaurants and retail establishments to the sleepy, mostly park-filled island, and also help to generate revenue for the upkeep and operations of the island’s parkland. One stipulation of the rezoning is a commitment from The Trust for Governors Island to use union labor for all construction projects. (Photo: Courtesy Trust for Governors Island)

 

New Zoning Could Bring Restaurants, Shops, and a Hotel to Governors Island

East
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
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Nolan Houses on Governors Island (Courtesy of the Trust for Governors Island )

Nolan Houses on Governors Island (Courtesy of the Trust for Governors Island )

Only a little over decade ago, Governors Island was a sleepy coast guard base just a stone’s throw from Lower Manhattan, but it has since become a destination for New Yorkers offering a slew of recreational activities, events, and new park land. Now the idyllic island could be populated by a new hotel along with restaurants, retail, and other commercial development.

Continue reading after the jump.

Boston Proposes New Zoning to Help Spur More Urban Agriculture

East
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
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The first phase of the Mayor's Pilot Urban Agriculture Rezoning Project involved issuing an RFP seeking farmers to create a farm on two city-owned properties in South Dorchester. City Growers was selected and now operates two farms in Boston. (Courtesy of City Growers Boston/Facebook)

The first phase of the Mayor’s Pilot Urban Agriculture Rezoning Project involved issuing an RFP seeking farmers to create a farm on two city-owned properties in South Dorchester. City Growers was selected and now operates two farms in Boston. (Courtesy of City Growers Boston/Facebook)

The city of Boston is laying the ground work to grow and simplify the process for urban farming throughout the city. Mayor Thomas Menino and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) are introducing an amendment, Article 89, to the current zoning that would create opportunity for expanded urban agriculture activities such as rooftop farming and opening farm stands and markets.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Portage Lives! Church Will Not Acquire 92-year-old Chicago Theater

Midwest
Monday, July 23, 2012
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The Portage Theater, a 1920s-era theater on Chicago's northwest side, escaped acquisition by an Albany Park church. (Image courtesy Eric Allix Rogers via Flickr.)

The Portage Theater, a 1920s-era theater on Chicago's northwest side, escaped acquisition by an Albany Park church. (Eric Allix Rogers/Flickr.)

Supporters of the Portage Theater breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when it was announced a local church would withdraw their bid to acquire the 92-year-old cinema on Chicago’s northwest side. A hearing with the Zoning Board of Appeals had been scheduled for Friday, from which Chicago Tabernacle sought a special use permit to convert the theater into a house of worship.

Continue reading after the jump.

Lights, Zoning, Action! Blockbuster Day for Zoning in Los Angeles

West
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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A look at Hollywood. (Courtesy Stock Footage Hollywood)

Yesterday will be remembered as a historic day for Los Angeles planning wonks. First, city council approved the Hollywood Community Plan, which, among other things, paves the way for increased density near transit, more mixed-use development, and more integrated transit plans in the ever-improving entertainment center of LA. Right afterward, we learned from Curbed LA that the council also approved the Comprehensive Zoning Code Revision Ordinance, which will help the city—through a new trust fund—overhaul its zoning code for the first time since 1946. According to LA City Planning, the new code, when completed, will “include clear and predictable language that will offer a wider variety of zoning options to more effectively implement the goals and objectives of the General Plan and accommodate the City’s future needs and development opportunities.” In other words, simpler, streamlined zoning tailored to individual neighborhoods and needs. Also in the mix, the new codes will include a dynamic, web-based zoning code, a layperson’s guide to zoning, and a unified downtown development code. Hallelujah!

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