United States

Developer says banning single-family zoning in Illinois would end ‘American Dream’

(The Center Square) – A state representative introduced a measure that would ban single-family-only zoning in Illinois cities.

State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, posted on X, formerly Twitter, that Chicago and many cities in Illinois have a self-inflicted housing crisis, something his House Bill 4795 aims to address.

“If we are serious about affordably housing more people, we should do away with the barriers that complicate that,” Buckner said.

The measure would create the Single-Family Zoning Ban Act and states that “on and after June 1, 2025, for a zoning unit with a population equal to or greater than 100,000 but less than 500,000, and on and after June 1, 2026, for a zoning unit with a population equal to or greater than 500,000, the zoning unit may not zone area exclusively for single-family residential use.”

Charlie Farner, owner of Tentac Enterprises, a major real estate company in Central Illinois, said Tentac has 10 active subdivisions all over Bloomington-Normal.

“If this goes through and they qualify McLean County, I am concerned they might reverse our single-family zoning on a buildable lot. They might say, ‘No you can’t sell that, you have to replat or redo your subdivision to accommodate this new law,’” said Farner. “That would be horrible.”

Farner said if the bill passes, he worries realtors wouldn’t make any money. Farner said you don’t sell apartments, you lease apartments.

Buckner said on X his bill would ban single-family only zoning. He also said the bill only applies in cities with populations over 100,000, which he said is only eight cities in Illinois.

“Until there’s actual legislation to look through and line-by-line analyze what they’re trying to accomplish, it’s state intrusion into local planning,” Farner said.

Farner said he doesn’t trust the bill will only apply to eight cities.

“The bottom line, whether you’re Republican, Democrat or Independent, is let our local communities do what’s best for our communities. We know what’s best and here you have the state coming in, ‘Nope we are going to broad-brush this thing.’”

Farner said he hasn’t seen anything that would suggest this potential law would combat high rents or address income inequality.

“What are they trying to accomplish? This is going to impact us and other local developers so therefore you’re impacting that communities and the long-term planning they’ve done,” Farner said.

Farner said it’s unclear if Bloomington-Normal will be subject to the proposed ban, but he worries that this ban will make the American Dream unachievable for Illinoisans.

The bill says a zoning unit with a population equal to or greater than 100,000 may not zone an area exclusively for single-family residential use.

The bill defines a “zoning unit” as a county, municipality, or township. Bloomington-Normal has a population of about 168,000. Separately, the municipalities do not meet the 100,000 threshold where the ban would apply.

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