‘Cut the Tape’ report highlights 100 actions to speed up housing, commercial developments

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

A new ‘Cut the Tape’ report released by Mayor Brandon Johnson will lay the groundwork for improvements in administrative processes to build more housing and support commercial development in the coming months and years.

“Our mission is to foster growth and elevate Chicago’s economic landscape, as outlined in the Cut the Tape report, which aims for a more effective and streamlined development process,” Johnson said. “This strategy will quickly increase residential and commercial projects, stimulating business sectors and addressing the urgent need for housing.

“Together, we’re breaking down barriers to progress and building towards a more prosperous city for all.”

The goal is to decrease the redundant and inefficient steps in the development process, reduce the days and weeks lost to review cycles, and increase communication and trust with all our development partners. Collectively, these improvements should lead to more units of affordable, supportive, and market-rate housing, more business and commercial development in every neighborhood and fewer project delays.

There are four priorities:

  • Build Faster – speed up the pace of development by streamlining approval processes
  • Build Everywhere – allow more housing and businesses to be developed in more places
  • Build Together – partner with public, private, & philanthropic stakeholders to create innovative solutions

The Cut the Tape report will highlight “10 Big Bets” or signature recommendations to improve processes. These include:

  • Cross-department coordination through the creation of a new Director of Process Improvement role in the Mayor’s Office
  • Policy improvements to enable expedited reviews for affordable housing projects
  • Zoning changes that include collaborating with City Council to eliminate minimum parking requirements and streamline special use permits, and more
  • Improve boards and commission processes by evaluating the feasibility of streamlining the Community Development Commission (CDC) and the Chicago Planning Commission (CPC)
  • Streamline design and construction requirements by revisiting the Department of Housing’s (DOH) Architectural and Technical Standards (ATS) manual
  • Reduce the number of design review meetings within the Department of Planning and& Development (DPD) from three to one, and reassess the role of the Committee on Design
  • Eliminate Phase 1 and 2 environmental reviews as a requirement for sale of environmentally cleared City-owned parcels
  • Expand the finance pilot for cash advance payment options
  • Create an online “City wallet” account to improve options for customer billing, online payments, and debt check
  • Work to reduce the administrative burden of the City’s Economic Disclosure Statement (EDS), including expanding expiration dates, allowing exemptions for select projects that receive an allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and more

“For far too long we have heard that the City needs to reduce the hurdles that developers and contractors face when trying to develop housing and commercial properties. Today, the Johnson Administration is announcing the start of a new day for the City of Chicago,” said John Roberson, Chief Operating Officer.

For more information on the Cut the Tape initiative and to download the full report, visit chicago.gov/CutTheTape

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