Champaign City Council votes to rezone areas near campus

By Angelica Lavito

The Champaign City Council unanimously voted 9-0 to rezone areas near campus, amending its zoning standards for two zoning districts.

Portions of John, Green and Locust streets will be removed from the light industrial zoning district and added to the central business district within the campus commercial overlay district. 

Redrawing the zoning districts will begin in May and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“This project will assess our in-town zoning districts. These are districts that were created 25 years ago around the edge of downtown with the intent of stopping the tear downs with the apartments that were being built,” assistant planning and development director Rob Kowalski said at last month’s study session.

Champaign Builders Supply will be affected by this change. The 30 E. John St. location has been owned and occupied since 1926, and it was recently sold to a developer who is interested in developing a retail and residential space, according to the study session report.

The zoning evaluation concluded that these areas are more ideal for residential and commercial use, as opposed to industrial use. In 2011, Champaign adopted its plan for the future of the city, which designated this area for campus use.

“As we gather up a group of technical advisors who work with the ordinance already, we have to be sensitive that they’re also representative of what’s best for the city,” Tom Bruno, deputy mayor and city council member-at large, said.

Teska Associates Inc., a company from Evanston, Ill. will prepare the zoning rewrite.

“One of the things I liked was that the company you were suggesting we chose is from Evanston and at least a similar type of community with a university so I thought they were likely to have an interest in what we were doing here,” Deb Feinen, city council member- at large, said.

The council also voted on amendments to the standards of this district.

Streets in the Campustown area are ranked as 1, 2 or 3, which dictate the extent of design requirements. Green Street is ranked 1, Wright Street is ranked 2 and Healey Street is ranked 3.

Council voted to add a fourth ranking that would include John Street from Locust Street to the Canadian National railroad tracks.

Angelica can be reached at [email protected]