Skip to code content (skip section selection)
17-7-0601-A The purpose of this section is to expressly authorize the establishment of special character overlay districts for neighborhoods that have unique or distinctive physical characteristics that are not generally present in other areas of the city, or to protect and guide development in areas that have distinctive neighborhood characteristics. Such unique or distinctive physical characteristics may come in the form of:
1. Size, shape or lot configurations that deviate greatly from the platting pattern found in other parts of the city;
2. Building types or architectural styles that conflict with base district standards, yet make a positive contribution to the physical character or livability of an area;
3. Environmental or other physical features that would prevent reasonable development under applicable zoning standards;
4. Identifiable and cohesive neighborhood unit possessing similar development patterns and physical characteristics (for example, building features, site design, land use patterns, and natural or streetscape characteristics); or
5. May be located adjacent (that is, as a buffer area) to an existing Chicago Landmark District.
17-7-0601-B The special zoning regulations that apply within special character overlay districts are intended to reduce conflicts between new construction and existing development, encourage city beautification and conserve the character of the city's most unique neighborhoods. Special character districts are not intended to serve as neighborhood-specific zoning rules that modify zoning standards merely because of dissatisfaction with development that complies with otherwise applicable standards. Such situations should be addressed through consideration of amendments to base district zoning standards that would apply citywide.
17-7-0602 Minimum Requirements. An area will be eligible for designation as a special character overlay district after a recommendation by the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards if at the time of application it is located within any R, B, C, D or M district, and contains at least 4 contiguous acres of land area.
17-7-0603-Q rehabilitation of character buildings as outlined in district-specific design guidelines. Character buildings have unique historical, architectural, or other impact on the district environment. Rehabilitation of identified character buildings is a priority in accordance with Section 17-7-0601-A.
17-7-0604 Procedure for Establishment.Special character overlay districts must be established in accordance with the procedures of Sec. 17-13-0500.
17-7-0605 Variations/Administrative Adjustments. Within any established special character overlay district, applicants may seek authorized administrative adjustments or variations, pursuant to the applicable administrative adjustment or variation procedures of Chapter 17-13.
17-7-0606 Special Uses. Within any established special character overlay district, any applicant may seek approval of a special use allowed by the base district or Special Character District standards. In such cases, the applicant must demonstrate that the proposed special use meets the general applicable approval criteria for special uses and that the proposed use will comply with applicable special character overlay district regulations.
(Added Coun. J. 5-26-04, p. 25275; Amend Coun. J. 11-8-12, p. 38872, § 246; Amend Coun. J. 10-7-20, p. 21785, § 1)