Updated Community Process for Zoning Changes

Effective May 19, 2021

In 2011, Alderman Harry Osterman released a community process for zoning and land use changes that expanded the outreach to impacted neighbors required by the city and has resulted in over 100 community zoning meetings over the past decade.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to the process were made in 2020 to accommodate a virtual environment. Now as more community members are becoming vaccinated and development inquiries start to increase, Alderman Harry Osterman is releasing an updated community process that continues the virtual experience and allows for the process to be transparent and open for meaningful community input.

INITIAL REQUEST: Initial request for a community input process comes to the Alderman’s office. To submit a zoning and/or land use matter for consideration, contact Chief of Staff Dan Luna at Dan@48thward.org or call 773-784-5277.

INTAKE: The Alderman and/or his representative meets with the party to review the proposal, make initial suggestions and explain the community process.

COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION #1: The Alderman’s office notifies the community of the pending project with a brief summary of the intake process and notice of an upcoming Community Information Meeting, hosted by the party seeking approval.

COMMUNITY INFORMATION MEETING: Party seeking approval will host a virtual Community Information Meeting to present the details of the project to impacted neighbors, block club organizations, business support organizations and community members. A minimum of two weeks must take place between this information meeting and the final community approval meeting.

COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION #2: Party seeking approval notifies the following with a description of the proposal and a notice of the Community Approval & Review Meeting:

  • Residents within 1,000 feet of site in question by USPS mail (this expands the City of Chicago’s Zoning requirement by 750 feet.)
  • Business support organizations such as chambers of commerce serving the area of the site in question.
  • Residential support organizations such as block clubs and neighborhood groups serving the area of the site in question.
  • At the organizations’ discretion, smaller community meetings can be held in person or virtually.
  • After meeting with the party seeking approval and/or reviewing the project, the representative organizations may present a written recommendation to the Alderman’s office outlining their feedback and approval/disapproval.

COMMUNITY REVIEW & APPROVAL MEETING: A final virtual Community Review & Approval Meeting will take place. At this meeting, the party seeking approval will make a final presentation, including modifications to the original proposal based on community input. After hearing the final presentation, the community representatives present at the meeting deliberate and provide an advisory vote to the Alderman.

VOTING: Community members have an additional 7 days to email the Alderman’s office and share their vote.


  • As consistent with past practices, the Alderman’s office will request that developers provide the maximum number of affordable units on-site for the project, and will advocate for family-sized units in applicable buildings.
  • Development projects permitted by right (with no need for a zoning change, and thus no official channel for Aldermanic and/or community approval) will still be encouraged to seek community input.