WEST LOOP — Neighbors and businesses have an opportunity to weigh in on the city’s latest plans for Fulton Market at a virtual meeting Thursday.
Officials from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development and Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) will co-host the community webinar on Zoom at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The meeting will discuss updates to the Fulton Market Innovation District, which covers a roughly 217-acre area bound by Hubbard, Halsted, Randolph, and Ogden Avenue.
The city is amending its previous 2014 plan in response to rising land values and increased development over the past six years. The proposed changes will steer future development in the rapidly evolving neighborhood and impact everything from open space to affordable housing.
“Given many of the industrial uses have since relocated and the quantity of opportunity sites in FMID, the 2014 land use recommendations are no longer applicable,” reads a draft version of the 2021 plan on the city’s website.
According to the draft, the city will focus on promoting mixed-use developments, improving access for all transportation modes and protecting and enhancing the neighborhood’s remaining “historical and cultural assets.”
Strategies to achieve these goals include lifting the ban on residential development north of Lake Street — a move championed by Burnett last spring.
“I support [residential development north of Lake], but for something to happen, the planning department has to reverse their policy,” Burnett said in the fall.
Based on the draft, the city will aim for 30 percent affordable housing in new developments north of Lake. City planners are working with the Department of Housing to coordinate their recommendations within a citywide overhaul of the affordable housing rules, expected later this year.
Other potential recommendations include improvements to the neighborhood’s at-grade Metra crossings, the addition of dedicated bike lanes along Randolph Street, Hubbard Street and Racine Avenue, and a commitment to bringing more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and open space to the area.
Community members can register for the webinar on the city’s website and pre-submit questions and comments. Feedback collected at the meeting will go into a revised draft submitted to City Plan Commission as early as later this winter, said Peter Strazzabosco, a spokesman for the planning department.
Once adopted by the Plan Commission, officials will need to take additional steps to implement the recommendations. These include changes to the zoning code to permit residential use in protected industrial areas and passing the aforementioned overhaul of the Affordable Housing Ordinance.
Thursday’s meeting will also appear on the Chicago Department of Planning and Development’s YouTube page.
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