Zoning changes proposed for Riverside reflect emphasis on public transit

A draft of a major grant-funded rewrite of Riverside’s zoning code that has largely gone unnoticed since its start in the summer of 2020 suggests the village is seeking higher density development in its commercial districts in the downtown and Harlem Avenue and also wants to make these areas more suitable for pedestrians and bicycles.

While the draft text is likely to change as it travels through the Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission and is considered by village council early next year, some of the changes to the code are commercial zoning, in particular, have special relevance for public transit. flavor.

Todd Vanadilok, senior planner for Egret and Ox Planning, the consultant hired by the village to lead the rewrite, presented the latest version of the code to elected officials at the village board meeting on December 2.

Vanadilok worked with a steering committee made up of Village Trustee Doug Pollock, Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission members Jill Mateo (commission chair) and Jennifer Henaghan and resident Jeff Cermak, who is an investment consultant commercial real estate. The Deputy Village Director, Ashley Monroe, is the liaison between the Village Hall and the committee.

“This is an ongoing process,” Pollock said at the village board meeting on December 2. “The committee rejected these ideas for consideration, some of which I am concerned about. But I think they are worth discussing and hearing by our planning and zoning commission and possibly by the village council. None of these are determined, necessarily.

The code changes will be finalized in the first three months of 2022, with final adoption slated for May.

The steering committee has met five times since August 2020, most recently in October, and the draft code change also incorporates feedback the committee received from an online survey conducted in October 2020. These are the only active public outreach during the process, which was delayed about six months earlier this year due to staff turnover within the village community development department.

Vanadilok told officials on December 2 that the draft amendments served two main purposes – to promote pedestrian and transit-oriented development in the downtown business district and prepare the riverside portion of the Harlem Avenue corridor. for the arrival of Pace Pulse, a suburban rapid transit bus network, which is currently in development.

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) provided the village with one of its community planning grants to fund the zoning update, hence its focus on public transit.

TOD neighborhood of New Harlem Ave.

Perhaps the most significant suggested change to the code is the creation of a B1-TOD zoning sub-district, which runs along Harlem Avenue from Addison Road to Lawton Road. This section is currently zoned B1-Commercial, which limits building heights to 35 feet and three stories per right, up to five stories as a special use.

In the proposed B1-TOD neighborhood, buildings can have a maximum of 60 feet and no more than five stories tall. In sub-district B1-C, which would include commercial properties at the corner of Harlem and Ogden and between 26th Street and Longcommon Road, building heights of 48 feet / four stories would be permitted as of right. 60 foot / five story buildings would be permitted as a special use.

Buildings up to 48 feet would also be permitted as of right in the B1-TC neighborhood, which stretches west along East Burlington Street from Harlem Avenue to Delaplaine Road.

In District B2, which includes downtown Riverside, the proposed code provides for buildings of 48 feet / four stories right and up to 60 feet / five stories for planned unit developments.

In the two quarters B1 and B2, the proposed code creates new minimum building heights of two floors.

Proposed modifications for the parking of bicycles, vehicles

Further changes have been proposed to the bicycle and vehicle requirements for new developments in commercial zoning districts.

In order to make business districts more bicycle-friendly and encourage the use of public transport, the draft code proposes that new non-residential developments provide for a bicycle parking space for 10 vehicle spaces.

The project also proposes that for new multi-family residential developments, a minimum of one bicycle parking space be provided for every 1.5 housing units for residents and one bicycle parking space for 10 vehicle parking spaces. for visitors.

The code also specifies the size of the bicycle spaces and their location.

According to the draft code, the village would reduce the number of parking spaces for new multi-family residential developments in transit-oriented neighborhoods, both downtown and along Harlem Avenue.

In the B1-TOD sub-district and in the B1-TC sub-district, the proposed code provides for one parking space per unit except for assisted living facilities, where the development should include 0.5 space per unit. Currently, code B1-TC requires two parking spaces for each multi-family unit, townhouse, and mixed-use dwelling.

For non-residential developments of 3,000 square feet or less, no parking space would be required. For developments over 3,000 square feet, a developer should provide one space per 400 square feet above this threshold.

In the downtown B-2 commercial district, new developments are expected to provide one parking space for each two-bedroom (or less) unit in a new development. The code currently provides for 1.5 parking spaces per two bedroom unit.

The entire Zoning Code Amendment project is available online at riversidezoning.com/project-documents.