Chicago City Council Update – Ordinances Introduced on June 26th

Advocacy News ,

Following is a summary of ordinances introduced at the June 26th Chicago City Council meeting that might be of interest to CAA members. Click on the title to read the full ordinance text. The Legislative Committee will review these proposals and recommend policy positions, as appropriate. However, please let us know if you have any questions or comments about any of these proposed ordinances.

Chicago Homes for All (Alderman Sadlowski Garza) -- Housing & Real Estate 
This ordinance establishes the Chicago Homes for All program to preserve and expand deeply affordable public housing options for low-income households across Chicago as well as advance the City's efforts to address desegregation. It applies to the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and the operation of its public housing, project-based voucher, and project-rental assistance programs. It requires the CHA to appear before the Housing Committee quarterly to report on several things, including accumulated unspent revenue, plans for building replacement units, plans to rebuild family housing, the number of households with outstanding rights under the Right to Return contract, housing choice voucher funding utilization, average housing quality standards inspection scores and number of people on CHA waiting lists. This ordinance is like one proposed last year known as Keeping the Promise. That ordinance faced opposition from the Mayor’s office and it has yet to be heard in Committee. 

Development For All (Alderman Sadlowski Garza) -- Housing & Real Estate 
This ordinance amends Chapter 2-45-115 of the Municipal Code to expand access to housing for low and moderate-income families and to preserve long-term affordability of such housing. Specifically, it amends the existing 2015 affordable housing commitment to require an ordinance approving a proposed rezoning, city land sale or financial assistance be passed within 9 months of effective date. It proposes to add a section to the code identified as Development for All ordinance. It does not apply if the property is subject to the Affordable Requirements ordinance. It defines affordable as a sale price or rent where total monthly housing costs do not total more than 30% of household income. It defines affordable housing as households earning 50% of area median income (AMI) for rental and 100% of AMI for owner-occupied housing. If TIF funds are received, affordable housing means one-fourth of the units are affordable to those earing 15% of AMI and three-quarters of the units are affordable to those earning 30% of AMI. Eligibility criteria is defined for rental as 30% of AMI or 80% of AMI. For owner-occupied housing, eligibility criteria are defined as 100% of AMI or 80% of AMI. It defines a residential housing project as a building or buildings that collectively contain 3 or more residential units. When rezoning in a low-moderate or higher income area, it requires developers to provide 30% affordable units when developing 10 or more additional housing units and no less than one affordable unit when developing 3 to 9 additional housing units. When rezoning in a downtown district, it requires developers to provide 40% affordable units when developing 10 or more additional housing units and no less than 2 affordable units when developing 3 to 9 additional housing units. 

This ordinance doubles down on the 2015 ARO with required percentage of affordable housing reaching 50% in certain instances. The existing ARO there is a 10% affordable requirement in rezoning and city land sale developments. It increases to 20% in instances where the city is providing financing. These requirements have caused development of residential buildings with 10 or more units to fall off considerably. This ordinance will only further reduce the development of multi-family residential buildings and further exacerbating the city’s affordable housing crisis. 

Share Housing Surcharge (Mayor Emanuel) -- License & Consumer Protection 
This ordinance amends Section 3-24-030 of the Municipal Code to increase the surcharge associated with vacation rentals and shared housing units from 4% to 6%. The funds will be used for housing and other supportive services to serve victims of domestic violence. Up to 8% of the revenue generated from this 2% surcharge may be used by the City for cost of administration. The ordinance takes effect 60 days after passage and publication. The ordinance increases the existing shared housing fee by 50%. 

Fair Work Week (Alderman Arena) -- Workforce Development & Audit 
This ordinance adds Chapter 1-25 to the Municipal Code to govern employee scheduling. Specifically, it defines a covered employee as any person who works at least two hours in a two-week period in Chicago. It exempts employees paid on a salary basis whose rate of pay is greater than the 40th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time non-hourly workers in the Midwest Census Region, but never less than $50,000 per year, or $962 per week, provided the compensation is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of the work performed, and without regard to the number of days or hours worked. The ordinance requires an employer to provide an employee with a good faith estimate, in writing of the employee’s schedule. This estimate must include: 1) median number of weekly work hours the employee can expect to work each week, 2) whether employee can expect to work any on-call shifts, 3) a subset of days and a subset of times or shifts that the employee can expect to work, or days of the week and times or shifts on which the employee will not be scheduled to work. It further requires the employer to provide employees with written notice of work hours no later than 14 days before the first day of the workweek by posting the work schedule in a conspicuous place at the workplace that is readily accessible and visible to all employees. Additionally, it requires employers to offer additional hours to existing employees before hiring new employees, contract employees or using a staffing service. 

Sidewalk Signs (Alderman Waguespack) -- License & Consumer Protection 
This ordinance adds a new Article VII to Chapter 10-28 of the Municipal Code to establish regulations for sidewalk signs. It requires a permit for an A-frame or T-frame sign. The fee for this permit is $250 and the permit is good for two years. Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP) can align the expiration of the sidewalk permit and the businesses license. The permit application must include: 1) evidence that the business is licensed, 2) photograph and sketch of the where the sign will be located and its relationship to the area, 3) sketch of the sign, its dimensions and proposed language, 4) proof of insurance, and 5) other information required by the BACP Commissioner. 

Graffiti Removal (Alderman Hopkins) -- Zoning, Landmarks & Building Standards 
This ordinance amends Chapter 7-28-065 of the Municipal Code to allow building owners that have art on their walls to voluntarily register with the department of streets and sanitation by filing a registration statement. This ordinance was the result of an incident where city crews removed what they believed to be graffiti from a building wall. The wall contained an artist’s work. The ordinance would give owners the ability to register an art wall so that city crews do no mistakenly consider it graffiti. 

Vacant Buildings (Alderman Thompson) -- Finance 
This ordinance amends Chapter 13-12 of Municipal Code to prohibit use of plywood or wood-based material to secure vacant buildings. The ordinance takes effect upon passage and publication. An ordinance to require board-up material to be metal was proposed several years back but was never approved by the City Council. These metal panels are more expensive and there was no clear evidence that they secured a building any better. Additionally, several Alderman expressed concern about how the metal panels made buildings look in their community. The ordinance applies to vacant buildings, so it would not prohibit the use of wood over a broken door or window on building that was not vacant. 

Curb Loading Zones (Alderman Reilly) -- Transportation & Public Way 
This ordinance adds Chapter 9-64-160 to the Municipal Code to allow vehicles to establish 30-minute time limit for pickup or deliveries by commercial vehicles within curb loading zones. The ordinance takes effect upon passage and publication. This 30-minute limit would be allowed regardless of what time limit is posted on the sign. 

Priority Parking Signs (Alderman Lopez) -- Pedestrian & Traffic Safety 
This ordinance adding Chapter 2-160-075 of the Municipal Code concerning priority parking signs. Specifically, it allows a parking garage operator to create and maintain signage indicating priority parking for individuals based upon military status, parental status, or pregnancy. It does not impose an obligation on the building owner or manager, unless they are the garage operator. The ordinance does not require any of these signs to be posted. Instead it provides protection to those who wish to post such signs 

Content contributed by Mary Kay Minaghan, MKM Services, CAA contract lobbyist.

Please contact Michael Mini with any questions or comments.