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This report was created by the Chicago Kate Walz, Senior Director of Litigation
Area Fair Housing Alliance in partnership & Director of Housing Justice; Nolan
with Sargent Shriver National Center on Downey, Law Intern; Ivan Parfenoff and
Poverty Law. Nivedita Sriram, Americorps VISTAs.

The Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance This report would not have been
(CAFHA) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit possible without the generous support
consortium of fair housing and advocacy of Albert C. Hanna. Mr. Hanna has spent
organizations, government agencies, and nearly 50 years advocating for fair and
municipalities. CAFHA works to combat affordable housing in Chicago. Using
housing discrimination and promote the knowledge he gained through his
integrated communities of opportunity position as former Senior Vice President
through education, advocacy, and of Draper and Kramer and related senior
collaborative action. CAFHA report positions in Chicago’s commercial real
contributors: Patricia Fron, Executive estate and mortgage industries, Mr.
Director; Asia Bowman and Kate Spear, Hanna has repeatedly litigated against
Policy & Advocacy Interns. the City of Chicago at his personal cost
for what he characterizes as racially and
The Sargent Shriver National Center economically discriminatory land-use
on Poverty Law (Shriver Center) is a policies. Research support was provided
non-partisan, 501(c)(3) organization by Albert C. Hanna and Lauren Bean
providing national leadership in Buitta, Principal of Stele Consulting and
advancing laws and policies that consultant to Albert C. Hanna. Research,
secure justice to improve the lives and design, and graphics assistance was
opportunities of people living in poverty. provided by Okrent Kisiel Associates,
The Shriver Center’s Housing Justice Inc. Okrent Kisiel report contributors:
Program works to protect housing rights George V. Kisiel, AIA, AICP, President,
and expand housing opportunities Jason Jarrett, Senior Associate, Andrew
for individuals and families with low Volz, Analyst, and Sharon Maloy, Graphic
income. Shriver report contributors: Designer.

Executive Summary

The City of Chicago, through the policy framework. The findings demonstrate
of aldermanic prerogative, which gives that the City of Chicago has neglected to
aldermen virtually unchecked control fulfill its civil rights obligations by failing
over their wards, allows housing and to ensure more equitable family affordable
community development decision-making housing opportunities and balance the
to be hindered by political influence power dynamics involved in community
and opposition to neighborhood racial planning.1 The 1969 decision in the civil
change. In predominantly white areas rights case, Gautreaux v. Chicago Housing
this is substantiated in the erection of Authority, illuminated the fact that the
barriers to affordable housing and has City of Chicago had an intentional and
resulted in significant impediments to deliberate policy to control where public
place-based racial equity. The consequence housing was sited in the city, resulting
of aldermanic prerogative has been in concentrations of public housing
decades of missed opportunities to in predominately black, low-income
develop affordable housing in areas neighborhoods. Now, almost 50 years later,
lacking a sufficient supply. The impact the city has continued to allow aldermen
of that loss is felt by all racial and ethnic to control where affordable housing is
groups in need of affordable housing, but sited and as a result, maintain the city’s
disproportionately by black and Latinx rigid patterns of racial segregation.
Any attempt the city may make to
This report is the first of its kind to advance affordable housing is destined
explicitly identify the current mechanics for inadequacy unless and until the
and quantify the impacts of aldermanic structural barriers imposed by aldermanic
prerogative within a civil rights legal prerogative are dismantled.

At the most fundamental level, hostile to affordable housing become
aldermen have the ability to shape off-limits to developers by baking
neighborhoods through the control exorbitant financial risk into the
of zoning. Zoning powers entitle development proposal process. Finally,
aldermen the discretion to determine aldermen can employ parliamentary
allowable land-uses and development and extra-parliamentary powers to
within their wards. Aldermen delay development deals, ensuring
therefore have the authority to dictate that unwanted affordable housing will
acceptable housing type and density, not be introduced or voted on before
controlling the amount and type of city council.
housing units directly, impacting
housing pricing and rent rates The unwritten code of aldermanic
indirectly, and ultimately the type of prerogative has resulted in the
households that may reside within the reduction of land area available
ward. Although the city has attempted for multifamily development—just
to encourage inclusionary zoning—by 20% of the city’s land (including the
binding affordable unit requirements downtown central business district)
to certain market rate developments is currently zoned for multi-family
through the Affordable Requirements housing—and the concentration of
Ordinance—aldermanic prerogative family affordable housing outside
ensures that hyper-local controls can of predominantly white and low-
circumvent the citywide mandate. poverty areas. Aldermanic prerogative
therefore creates geographic
Aldermen also control access to city boundaries, limiting where low-
funds and city-owned lots within their income families, and predominantly
wards, effectively making or breaking black and Latinx households, can live
affordable housing deals. Wards in the City of Chicago.


Employed to Block Affordable Housing and Preserve
Neighborhood Racial Demographics

• Unfettered Zoning Power • Evading the Affordable

• Access to City Funds Requirements Ordinance
• Control of City-Owned Lots • Use of Parliamentary and
Extra-Parliamentary Power

The Effects of Aldermanic
ZONING low poverty areas. Over half (59%) of all units
were constructed in just 5 wards, while the
Chicago’s 14 wards with majority white aldermen of more than half (27 or 54% of
populations have aggressively used downzoning total) of Chicago’s wards did not accept even a
and landmarking to reduce multifamily single unit. As depicted in the chart, Chicago’s
development: these wards disproportionately white population and it’s subsidized housing
account for 55% of the area downzoned or developments are concentrated in entirely
landmarked between 1970 to 2016, or roughly opposite wards.
double the proportion expected if all Aldermen
used the tool equally. As depicted in the chart, Conversely, over the same time period, about
Chicago’s white population and downzoned or 6,900 units of new construction senior affordable
landmarked properties are concentrated in the housing were approved, more than double the
same wards. multifamily new construction count. And only
11 wards excluded new construction senior
Cumulative Percentage of White Population and affordable housing projects, an opt-out rate
Downzoning/Landmarking by Ward less than half that of the new construction
multifamily housing.

After multiple FOIA requests and interviews with

75% developers, there is no evidence of an affordable
housing project receiving funds without a letter
Cumulative Percentage

50% of aldermanic support, as the letter of support

is a central requirement of the city’s approval

Despite owning and controlling over 56 acres

0% Wards (Ascending Rank White Population) of land in majority white, low poverty areas as
Downzoned or Landmarked Area White Population
of the latest inventory publishing in 2017, no
city-owned parcel of land in these areas has been
75% of the city’s current multifamily zoned land used to build a single affordable dwelling unit.
is located outside of majority white wards and
Cumulative Percentage of White Population and
98% of new, affordable multifamily housing New Construction Family Housing by Ward
is constructed here. Conversely, 25% of the
city’s multifamily zoned land is located in 100%

predominantly white wards while just 2% of new

affordable multifamily housing is constructed in 75%
these areas.
Cumulative Percentage



Over the last 25 years, the city-approved loans 25%

for 3,394 subsidized units of multifamily housing

in new construction projects, 90% (3,052 units) 0%
were sited outside of predominantly white,
Wards (Ascending Rank White Population)
New Construction Family Housing Units White Population


Prerogative as Policy: Local Politics, Subsidized Housing, and Segregation 7

A Stout Fight: Historic Control of Susidized Housing Development 13

No Place Here: Current Patterns of Subsidized Housing Development 18

Sidestepping the Law: Tools of Aldermanic Prerogative 22

Planning Against Prerogative: Towards a Less Segregated Chicago 67

Appendix A: Methodology

Appendix B: Ward-by-Ward Zoning Advisory

Councils and Development Process

Prerogative as Policy: Local Politics,
Subsidized Housing, and Segregation
The City of Chicago is composed of 50 and the city’s administration that each
wards, and the interests of each ward alderman has the power to decide what
are represented by an elected alderman. happens within their ward.3 While this
In theory, the distribution of aldermen semblance of power is not the result
among 50 wards is intended to create legislatively granted authority, it is
equal representation among the city’s rarely violated.
almost 3 million residents. However, the Not only has
policy decisions that shape Chicago’s the notion “I often liken the City of
communities—those that determine who of “wards
gets to live where and what community as fiefdoms” Chicago [to] a feudal
amenities residents will have access been observed
to—are muddied by the dynamics of by political
system, where the mayor
power, manifested through aldermanic
prerogative, that pit ward against ward
is sort of a de facto king,
and snuff out cohesive efforts to further themselves And each alderman is
the common good.2 recognize,
benefit from, the lord — I guess, lady,
Through aldermanic prerogative, the
City of Chicago has tacitly established
and publicly
for female aldermen — of
“mini fiefdoms” held together by the
simple understanding among aldermen
this power. their individual fiefdom.”
Alderman Joe
Moore of the —Alderman Joe Moore,
49th Ward,
Aldermanic Prerogative: described 49th Ward (2013)
also referred to as Chicago’s
political system
aldermanic privilege, is
on a WBEZ “Curious City” episode: “I
the power of Chicago often liken the City of Chicago [to] a
City Council members to feudal system, where the mayor is sort of
maintain control over their a de facto king, and each alderman is the
wards, primarily by initiating lord — I guess, lady, for female aldermen
or blocking City Council or — of their individual fiefdom.”4 These
“fiefdoms,” in turn, are plagued by
city government actions an undercurrent of political influence
concerning their own wards. concentrated among those who have
This power, although not the their alderman’s ear—notably those with
result of legislatively granted money, power, and election clout—that
authority, is overwhelmingly force aldermen to either capitulate to
the demands of their most powerful
assented to among the city’s
constituents or face ouster. Low-income
aldermen, the Mayor’s office, Chicagoans, on the other hand, have
and the Department of little say in the decisions that impact
Planning and Development. where and how they live in this city.
Aldermanic prerogative necessitates

implicitly biased fears of neighborhood
Chicago’s most racial change, and of black former
public housing residents in particular.
predominant racial/ethnic
The consequences impact low- and
groups (white, black, moderate-income families of all racial
Latinx) each make up and ethnic backgrounds, most acutely
about one third of the city’s black and Latinx households, by erecting
population5. Of Chicago’s 50 barriers to affordable rental housing, and
wards, 18 (36%) are majority to the greatest extent, family affordable
black, 14 (28%) are majority
white, and 14 (28%) are
majority Latinx6 .
Great Migration:
The movement of African
the continuation of the status quo, Americans from the South
as aldermen rely on the preservation
of neighborhood dynamics and
to the urban North from
demographics to secure their political 1916-1970. The result
longevity. Powerful and predominantly was the demographic
white neighborhood interest groups, in transformation of Northern
turn, have relied on aldermen to assist in cities like Chicago. Chicago
the preservation of neighborhood racial
attracted slightly more than
makeup. This is historically rooted in a
desire to explicitly restrict black access to 500,000 African Americans,
white neighborhoods.8 During the Great growing the city’s population
Migration, white communities devised from 2% of the total
outright barriers to stave off black population to 33% by 1970.7
integration.9 With the enactment of the
Federal Fair Housing Act in 1968, many
of these direct practices were outlawed.10
However, over the years, racially-based The result is the perpetuation of racial
housing discrimination has manifested in segregation and the concentration of
ever more insidious fashions. poverty, which fuels vast inequities in
community investments and access
Present day proxies for racial to opportunity for Chicago residents.
discrimination are often most powerful Although this is unfortunately common
when aimed at populations with the throughout the country, what makes
least political capital, namely those in Chicago’s (and the Midwest’s generally)
need of affordable housing. Although segregation unique, is its durational
affordable housing is needed at varying potency and the resulting racial
income levels and by all racial and ethnic inequities that are manifested in every
groups, to many Chicagoans the face of facet of life for Chicago’s residents.11
affordable housing is black, and those in Chicago is, by consequence, an
need of affordable housing have become incontrovertibly fragmented city, where:
racial stereotypes. Affordable housing
and the discussions that stem from • public investments and amenities are
it—from property values and density, concentrated in select neighborhoods
to parking and schools—have become while others have been devalued and
dog whistles evoking both explicitly and divested;

• exclusionary policies ensure that
predominantly white and low- Fair Housing Act (FHA):
poverty areas remain difficult to
The Fair Housing Act of
access for low- and moderate- income
households, and virtually impossible 1968, as amended, prohibits
to access if those households are also discrimination in the sale,
black or Latinx; rental, and financing of
• and where low- income individuals housing based on race,
of all racial backgrounds have color, religion, sex, national
diluted power in shaping the housing origin, familial status, or
decisions that determine where they
can live in the city.
disability in connection
with the sale and rental of
In turn, Chicago’s white, black, and housing and other private
Latinx residents live, to a significant real estate transactions.13
degree, in separate neighborhoods and When it was passed in 1968,
face distinct life outcomes.17 By the city’s
it was declared the “policy
own admission to the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development of the United States” to
(HUD), Chicago is now, and has been for provide “for fair housing”
more than 50 years, a “highly segregated within the limits imposed
city,” with whites segregated on the by the Constitution.14 The
North, Northwest, Southwest and far FHA bans both intentionally
South Sides, blacks almost exclusively
on the West and South Sides, and
racially discriminatory
conduct and those practices
that have a disparate
impact or disproportionately
In Chicago, 93% of families
discriminatory effect
with children at or below
on protected classes.15
the poverty line are
Ultimately, the statute’s
families of color.
goal is to bring about
Black and Latinx families are
“open, integrated residential
disproportionately affected:
housing patterns and to
37% of black and 23% of
prevent the increase of
Latinx families with children
were at or below poverty
line, compared with just
7% of white families with Latinx populations in clearly identifiable
children in 2017. Families clusters on the North, Northwest,
of color below the poverty Southwest and far South Sides. Except
line are most likely to have for the expansion of Latinx households,
these color lines have remained virtually
worst case housing needs, unchanged since the 1980 Census.18
including facing severe Black-white segregation remains the
rent burdens and severely starkest in Chicago, and among the 10
inadequate housing.12 most segregated large cities, Chicago’s
black-white segregation

is the most severe, even among the developers to advocates and NIMBYs)—
city’s most affluent households: “Black the tone and tenor of which is unique to
householdsearning over $100,000 each ward—compelling many aldermen
are just as likely as black households to do not what is best for the city or even
their ward but what will least damage
their reputation with powerful groups
and their chances of reelection. The
NIMBY: is an acronym for result is a culture where aldermen in
“Not In My Backyard.” The predominantly white and low-poverty
areas erect barriers to family affordable
term, coined in the 1980s,
housing to preserve the status quo;
is used to describe citizens aldermen in wards that have faced
that oppose proposed real chronic disinvestment are obliged to
estate developments in their take more than an equitable share of
neighborhood or town.19 affordable housing because, if it is not
built in their wards, it will not be built at
all, and there exists a demonstrated need
among their constituents; and aldermen
earning less than $25,000 annually to in gentrifying areas have diminished
be segregated from whites.”20 The city power to stave off the market forces
is well aware of this segregation and creating an increasingly unaffordable
the ways in which it drives inequities housing landscape.
in access to opportunities like jobs,
community services, commercial and Aldermanic prerogative emerges within
other neighborhood amenities, and high public discourse every few years as
performing schools.21 the possible linchpin of a range of
Chicago issues from political corruption
Chicago’s enduring residential racial to inequities in city services.24 Its
and economic segregation has produced encumbrance on affordable housing
harmful collateral consequences for development is the most recent to garner
all.22 Everything from homicide rates attention.25 Yet it remains ingrained
to educational and economic inequity in the very fabric of the city—part
could be alleviated by addressing and parcel of Chicago’s vestiges of
segregation.23 However, Chicago’s machine politics. Within a civil rights
political machine ignores what is good legal framework, however, aldermanic
for all to advance what is good for the prerogative is for the first time exposed
few. When making the decisions at the as a present-day conservator of racial
core of shaping Chicago neighborhoods, segregation and the reason for Chicago’s
aldermanic prerogative forces aldermen dwindling supply of family affordable
to navigate a clamor of interests (from housing.

A Stout Fight: Historic Control of
Subsidized Housing Development
EARLY EFFORTS BY THE CITY policy would maintain residential
TO CONTROL THE SITING OF segregation.28 After World War II, CHA,
AFFORDABLE HOUSING like housing authorities throughout
the country, was tasked with finding
The City Council’s control and influence housing for returning veterans. In
over the siting of affordable housing order to expedite the construction,
has been central to the city’s operation Chicago Mayor Kelly directed housing
since the 1930s, beginning with construction on plots already owned
decisions made over where public by city departments even though most
housing would be sited. In spite of of the city-owned land was in white
aldermanic prerogative being exposed neighborhoods.
nearly 50 years ago, it remains the While the
central mechanism wielded to maintain CHA had to
house veterans
“By putting up a
residential segregation.
proportionately, project in every
When Chicago Housing Authority’s the
(CHA) first executive secretary, Neighborhood section of Chicago
Elizabeth Wood, was appointed in 1939,
she set out to champion the construction Rule made
they could infiltrate
of racially-integrated public housing it incredibly Negroes.”
across Chicago. But both the federal difficult to
government and Chicago aldermen house black –Alderman John
fiercely opposed her efforts.27 First, in veterans in the
1939, the federal government imposed available areas. Duffy, 19th Ward
the Neighborhood Composition Rule,
which required the racial composition
As a result,
in 1946, the
(1946) 26

of public housing projects reflect the CHA defied the

racial composition of the surrounding Neighborhood Composition Rule and
neighborhoods, meaning that national developed a list of 22 sites for new
veteran housing, mostly in white areas.

White residents, concerned that racially

integrated public housing would be “the
end of their neighborhoods,” compelled
their aldermen to oppose the siting.
Alderman John Duffy accused the
CHA and Wood of stirring up unrest
in Chicago. “By putting up a project
in every section of Chicago they could
infiltrate Negroes,” Duffy said, which
would “stir up trouble and keep the pot
boiling – never let it stop.”29 In response,
Elizabeth Wood, the first director of the
the CHA kept the smaller projects
Chicago Housing Authority. (Chicago Housing entirely white, limiting black residents to
Authority Photo Archives)

only the largest of projects. Even then, and the CHA refusing to back down,
the CHA screened black potential tenants Mayor Martin Kennelly authorized the
heavily, and capped the black residential aldermen to work directly with the CHA
population at 10% of the total residential to devise a plan. John Duffy and William
population per building. Lancaster used the opportunity to
develop what came to be known as the
In 1947, when CHA tried to institute Duffy-Lancaster compromise, which sited
integrated housing in Fernwood Park 10,500 units of public housing on either
Homes on the far South Side, local land within impoverished black areas or
alderman Reginald DuBois said that vacant land just outside of these areas.32
“[w]e all want to protect our homes, When the plan went to the national
and the people of this community will Public Housing Administration (PHA)33
put up a stout fight.”30 DuBois went so for approval, PHA raised few objections
far as to join the leaders of a violent despite obvious weaknesses, and the city
backlash that met the new black tenants was permitted to advance its segregated
as they attempted to integrate. DuBois housing plan. The plan was approved by
introduced a resolution to the City the City Council in August 1950.34
Council, declaring that the CHA insisted
on using housing strategies that were After the ousting of Wood as executive
singular from the opinions of both other secretary in 1954, the power of the
local agencies and “a great majority” of CHA to operate
Chicago residents.31 independently

In 1948, out of fear that impending

of the City
Council eroded
“We all want to
federal legislation would lead to quickly. Wood’s protect our homes,
integrated public housing in white successor,
neighborhoods, the City Council General William and the people of this
pressured the Illinois legislature to
bestow the City Council with powers
Kean, decided
that the City
community will put
to approve or disapprove sites selected
by the CHA. The next year, Congress
Council’s up a stout fight.”
enacted the Housing Act of 1949, which was integral –Alderman
focused heavily on urban renewal as to exacting
well as new public housing construction, the location Reginald DuBois,
with federal money set aside to construct
more than 800,000 new units of public
of future
projects. Kean
9th Ward (1947)
housing across the U.S. The same day saw the CHA’s
that the legislation was enacted, the involvement as purely “economic and
CHA submitted a proposal to the City developmental,” and felt only aldermen
Council that 40,000 integrated units could fully evaluate “various other
sited all over the city be built in the factors” that might affect project siting.35
next six years. The debate in the City He outlined a new site-selection process
Council over where to site the first that provided aldermanic clearance
seven buildings, with 10,000 units of authority, without which the site would
housing, went on for days. The aldermen be withdrawn from consideration. The
approved two of the sites located near aldermen and their constituents would
existing public housing in predominantly now have a significant role in deciding if
black neighborhoods, and rejected public housing would be situated in their
the rest. With the aldermen staunchly wards.
against integration of public housing,

Mayor Richard J. Daley-appointee Alvin
Rose succeeded Kean to the executive
director role, and under his leadership,
cooperation between the CHA and
aldermen in the siting of public housing
developments only increased. While
Kean was brought in to weaken CHA
racial integration practices, under Rose’s
leadership, there would no longer be
any attempts to integrate.36 Aldermen
were contacted before the CHA even
considered a site, so they could gauge
community reaction. If the community Elizabeth Wood seated at her desk at the Chi-
cago Housing Authority. (Chicago Tribune)
and the alderman objected to a proposed
site, it had, according to Rose, “no with PHA’s regulations, and tenant
chance of getting through.”37 selection reflected CHA applicants’
indicated location preferences. McGuire
DOROTHY GAUTREAUX also suggested that there was no federal
ET AL. V. CHICAGO violation of civil rights law because
it was Chicago aldermen who were
standing in the way of integration. She
Through the 1950s and 1960s, the CHA wrote that “[we] are also advised that
built more than 20,000 units of family sites other than
public housing, nearly all situated in in the south
black communities. This segregation was or west side, “We are also advised
if proposed
largely due to the power wielded by the
for regular that sites other than
City Council. Aldermen with primarily
white constituents dismissed proposals family housing, in the south or west
for public housing in their wards, while
black City Council leadership would encounter side, if proposed for
push through proposals for public sufficient
objection in
regular family housing,
housing in their wards, recognizing
their constituents’ need for affordable the Council to invariably encounter
preclude Council
sufficient objection in
After the passage of the Civil Rights the Council to preclude
Act in 1964, a collective of 53 black These policies
neighborhood organizations, called the and practices led Council approval.”
to the nation’s
West Side Federation, wrote a letter in
first major pub-
–Letter from the Public
August 1965 to the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development lic housing de- Housing Administration
(HUD). The West Side Federation asked segregation law-
HUD to disapprove of the CHA’s newest suit – Gautreaux
to the West Side
proposal for nine more developments, et al. v. Chicago Federation (1965)
citing the CHA’s “pervasive pattern” Housing Author-
of segregation.39 In response, Marie ity. Judge Richard Austin, who issued
McGuire, Commissioner of the Public the first judgment order in Gautreaux in
Housing Administration, said that the 1969, marveled that more than 99% of
CHA’s site selection process was in line CHA family units could be deeply

segregated, with black tenants in black
neighborhoods, “without the persistent A companion lawsuit was
application of a deliberate policy.”43
filed at the same time,
As part of the judgment order, the CHA Gautreaux et al. v. Romney
was both required to provide options, (1966), which alleged that
like scattered site housing, for public by providing funds to the
housing residents to relocate out of CHA, HUD was also respon-
segregated, high-poverty neighborhoods, sible for Chicago’s segregat-
and severely limit the construction of
new public housing in majority-black
ed public housing. Since the
neighborhoods.44 Following further findings in the case against
litigation, the CHA was ordered by the HUD were dependent on the
court to ignore the Illinois statute that results of the case against
required aldermanic approval of sited CHA, judgment in this case
public housing.45 The City Council,
was stayed until that time.
However, after the CHA was
found responsible, Judge
Gautreaux: In 1966,
Austin dismissed the claims
Gautreaux et al. v. Chicago
against HUD. The plaintiffs
Housing Authority was the
appealed successfully to
nation’s first major public
have HUD held responsible
housing desegregation
alongside CHA.42
lawsuit. Dorothy Gautreaux
was an Altgeld Gardens
resident, and lead plaintiff stripped of the ability to informally
in the case that ultimately pre-veto individual sites, chose to
found the Chicago Housing instead exercise their statutory veto
Authority to have engaged power46 by refusing to hold mandatory
approval hearings for sites.47 The CHA,
in racially discriminatory
believing that any public housing they
housing practices by sought to build would be shot down
concentrating public by a recalcitrant City Council, did not
housing in predominantly submit any proposals or build any public
black neighborhoods. Since housing between 1969 and 1974.48
this time, the Chicago Judge Austin took the formal veto power
away from Chicago aldermen in 1974,
Housing Authority has theoretically placing the power to site
been prohibited from housing in the hands of CHA, instead of
concentrating public the City Council.49
housing. These restrictions
Even so, in 1987, after only a few
catalyzed mobility programs
thousand units were built over the nine
and continue to govern years following the judge’s order to
where public housing can be ignore City Council’s statutory veto, the
built in Chicago today.41 court appointed a receiver to oversee
scattered site construction in Chicago.

The sites that were constructed, even are virtually as segregated as their public
under receivership, were located housing counterparts. The discrimination
primarily in black or Latinx wards, and against voucher holders, rooted in
were nowhere near enough to house anti-black racism and stereotypes about
everyone in need of affordable housing.50 public housing residents, predicates
opposition to all affordable housing
HOUSING CHOICE and impacts low- and moderate-income
households of all racial and ethnic
backgrounds, most notably black and
The creation of the tenant-based Section Latinx households.
8 program in 1974, which ultimately
became the Housing Choice “Section
8” Voucher program, created the first
opportunity to potentially eliminate
“Affordable Housing
local government veto powers over the
siting of public housing.51 The hope
is a dirty word in
that the voucher program would move many communities
tenants to integrated communities
has not been realized. In spite of in Chicago, it’s too
laws banning voucher discrimination,
voucher holders, especially black
much tied to CHA and
voucher holders, experience rampant section 8.”
discrimination in the housing market.
This discrimination is especially – Local Housing
persistent in white communities in
Chicago.52 As a result, voucher holders Developer (2018)

No Place Here: Current Patterns of
Subsidized Housing Development
Predominately white communities, fear- community development funds, a
ing neighborhood racial change, often significant portion of which are to
engage in aggressive NIMBY tactics to address the affordable housing needs of
block family affordable housing deals. low- to moderate-income households.
These tactics include publicly fram- For fiscal year 2017, Chicago received
ing objections as concerns over school $101,423,429 in federal Community
overcrowding, lowering property values,
and community safety. In the face of this
pressure, aldermen – whether they per-
“We understand that for far too
sonally agree with the community’s view long, aldermen on the North and
or not - capitulate to these demands and
prevent affordable housing projects from Northwest sides have done far too
moving forward.
little to open our communities to
Yet local governments that advance the low-income and minority families…
racial animus of private citizens in their
decision-making do so at their peril. Chicago’s history of racism has
In examining whether the actions of a
governmental body were motivated by
left a legacy of exclusion we must
racial animus, statements made by pri- respond to today.”
vate citizens and decision makers during
the sequence of events leading up to the
denial of housing are highly relevant.53
—Alderman Pawar, Alderman
References to community changes as Mell, Alderman Taliaferro,
a result of the inclusion of affordable
housing, such as fear that a community Alderman Osterman, Alderman
will become “a ghetto” or the residential
character or shared values of the com-
Arena, Alderman Moreno, and
munity will change, or that there will Alderman Ramirez-Rosa
be an increase in blight or crime and/
or a decrease in property values have in a letter to City Council
all been found to be camouflaged racial
expressions.54 A local government does Development Block Grant (CDBG),
not avoid liability by claiming that it was Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Home
simply acquiescing to a desire of their Investment Partnership Act (HOME),
constituents.55 Indeed, a decision made and Housing Opportunities for Persons
in the context of strong, discriminatory with AIDS (HOPWA) program funds.
opposition becomes tainted with discrim- As a condition of receipt of these funds,
inatory intent even if the decision-mak- Chicago certifies annually to compliance
ers personally have no strong views on with federal civil rights laws, including
the matter.56 the duty to affirmatively further fair
housing. This obligation requires the
The City of Chicago is a longtime City of Chicago to take meaningful
recipient of federal housing and actions, beyond simply combating

discrimination, to address disparities in participating jurisdiction is prohibited
housing needs and access to opportunity, from placing a project in an area of
and to create “balanced and integrated minority or poverty concentration unless
living patterns.”58 The AFFH certification “sufficient and comparable opportunities
is Chicago’s promise that it will analyze exist” outside of concentrated areas or
segregation and disparities in access to one of several conditions of overriding
opportunity, take appropriate actions
to address the factors that contribute
to segregation, and maintain records
reflecting the analysis and action steps

For new construction projects using

HOME funds, additional analysis of
each project according to the Site and
Neighborhood Standards is required to
ensure that each project will not further
segregation.60 Under this analysis, the

Alderman Walter Burnett, who is noted by many developers to be one of the few
Affirmatively Further Northside aldermen open to affordable housing developments. (Logan Jaffe/WBEZ)
Fair Housing (AFFH):
The key Fair Housing Act need are met. The conditions for placing
provision,57 which obligates housing in areas of minority and poverty
concentration may not be repeatedly
grantees of federal housing
used “if the use of this standard in recent
dollars to “affirmatively fur- years has had the effect of circumventing
ther fair housing,” commonly the obligation to provide housing
referred to as the “AFFH choice.”61 The analysis requires the
obligation.” AFFH requires participating jurisdiction to identify the
grantees, in addition to racial and ethnic makeup of the area,
justify the placement of the project, and
addressing discrimination, to consider the marginal effect of the
to take proactive measures project’s placement on the opportunities
to identify patterns of seg- offered by the participating jurisdiction’s
regation, assess underlying housing inventory.
contributors to segregation,
Aldermanic prerogative is one of the
and take action to rectify the key vehicles for the infiltration of
public and private policies, racial animus into Chicago’s decision-
programs, or actions that making over new rental housing,
perpetuate segregation. putting Chicago at odds with its civil
Grantees are expected to rights obligations. Through interviews
with affordable housing developers,
utilize U.S. Department of advocates, and city officials, it is evident
Housing and Urban Devel- that “unwritten rules” of aldermanic
opment grant programs to prerogative dictate where rental housing
further such obligations. is built in Chicago. As a result, most
affordable housing developers, at least

those savvy about Chicago politics, will the proposal, Mayor Emanuel replied:
not bother to propose developments “….we always scrutinize any develop-
in wards where aldermen or powerful ment that requires or more accurately
local stakeholders are known to oppose seeks public assistance tax dollars. I am
affordable housing. Because aldermen going to let my planning staffers know
have certain tools at their disposal of your views and you can keep them
to block developments completely or informed. I know these are tough times
substantially influence the number and and issues. Really believe that leaning
type of affordable units, developers focus in on the community-driven process we
their efforts on a few wards friendly to discussed can move forward from man-
affordable housing.62 aging an issue to practically tackling the
challenge. Here to help. Hang in there.”63
However, this power is not equalized.
As evident in the case studies that fol- The aggregate effect is the reduction
low, despite overwhelming deference of land area available for multifamily
to aldermanic prerogative, the Mayor’s development— just 20% of the city’s
office and the Department of Planning land (including the downtown central
and Development, in instances in which business district) is currently zoned
aldermanic prerogative is deployed to for multi-family housing—and the
advance affordable housing, often ig- concentration of family affordable
nore, and at times actively work against, housing outside of predominantly white
that prerogative. For example, the Chica- and low-poverty areas.64 Since 1970,
go Sun Times recently obtained private the developable density of over 5,000
emails to and from Mayor Rahm Emanu- acres has been reduced by downzoning
el though a Freedom of Information Act or landmarking. In affluent lakefront
request and found that the Mayor corre- communities, downzonings from R-7
sponded with Northwest Side residents to R-5 or RT-4/RM-4.5 were common,
regarding a proposal to build affordable reducing the estimated maximum
housing in the Jefferson Park community. units allowed on a typical double lot
This development proposal (highlighted from 43 to 15 or 6 units respectively
in a case study to follow) was supported (ignoring parking requirements and
by the local 45th ward alderman John other limitations). This places undue
Arena, yet faced substantial opposition geographic limitations on housing for
from community groups. In response low-income, and predominantly black
to complaints from area residents about and Latinx households.

Mayor Emanuel discussing the public input process for the Jefferson Park affordable housing
development proposal. (Chicago Tribune)
THE TOOLS OF multifamily housing is constructed here.
ALDERMANIC PREROGATIVE: Conversely, 25% of the city’s multifamily
zoned land is located in predominantly
Unfettered Zoning Power white wards while just 2% of new afford-
Evading the Affordable able multifamily housing is constructed
Requirements Ordinance in these areas.
Access to City Funds Access to City Funds:
Control of City-Owned Lots Over the last 25 years, the city approved
Use of Parliamentary and loans for 3,394 subsidized units of
Extra-Parliamentary Power multifamily housing in new construction
projects, 90% (3,052 units) were sited
THE EFFECTS OF outside of predominantly white, low
ALDERMANIC PREROGATIVE: poverty areas. Over half (59%) of all
units were constructed in just 5 wards,
Zoning: while the aldermen of more than half
The 14 current wards with majority (27 or 54% of total) of Chicago’s wards
white populations have aggressively did not accept even a single multifamily
used downzonings, comprising 55% of unit.
all downzonings since 1970.
Conversely, over the same time period,
The average majority white ward has re- about 6,900 units of new construction
duced the potential for housing develop- senior affordable housing were ap-
ment by downzoning or landmarking .46 proved, more than double the multifam-
square feet of space for every remaining ily new construction count. And only 11
foot of multifamily zoned land in their wards excluded new construction senior
wards today. Comparatively, wards with- affordable housing projects, an opt out
out a majority white population have rate less than half that of the new con-
downzoned or landmarked .09 square struction multifamily housing.
feet of space for every remaining foot of
multifamily zoned land present in their TIF is actively used by 48 of 50 wards.
wards today. 34 wards have used TIF for housing
targeted to some population group, but
Since 1970, predominantly white, only 16 wards have used TIF for non-
low-poverty areas have had a rapid CHA family housing units.
decrease in rental affordability, or units
of any size affordable to households at After multiple FOIA requests and in-
60% of the Chicago median household terviews with developers, there is no
income. In low-poverty census tracts evidence of an affordable housing
where downzoning and landmarking project receiving funds without a letter
have been used, affordable units as a of aldermanic support, as the letter of
proportion of the rental housing stock support is a central requirement of the
has declined by an average of 46%. city’s approval process.

Comparatively, less affluent census tracts Control of City-Owned Lots

that have not downzoned or landmarked Despite owning and controlling over
significant areas have had, on average, 56 acres of land in majority white, low
only a 3% decline in affordability. poverty areas as of the latest inventory
75% of the city’s current multifamily publishing in 2017, no city-owned parcel
zoned land is located outside of majority of land in these areas has been used to
white wards and 96% of new, affordable build a single affordable dwelling unit.

ZONING POWER “Alderman Solis greatly respects
The cornerstone of aldermanic his colleagues and the fact that
prerogative is the power to control
zoning, as this allows or limits density.
they have been chosen by the
Limiting or reducing density on a
single site has the effect of eliminating
voters to represent them. On
the financial feasibility of a particular matters of zoning changes, the
affordable housing proposal on that
site. Limiting or reducing density over a Chicago City Council has always
larger area artificially limits the supply
of dwelling units, inflating both housing
given great deference to the
and land costs in a neighborhood and Alderman of the ward where a
eliminating the financial feasibility of
change is requested.”
affordable housing on a broader basis.
The city has delegated this vast power
to aldermen and provides virtually no —Thomas Brown, Spokesperson
check on its use. Aldermen, either on
their own or through a ward committee
for Alderman and Zoning
process, ultimately decide the fate of Committee Chair Danny Solis,
residential and commercial development
by utilizing multiple levers to control 25th Ward (2018)
zoning. Although there is a small
tide rising to challenge the common
wards or those with predominantly
narrative, the use of these levers has
white pockets and heavily concentrate
traditionally served to keep affordable
it in predominantly black and/or Latinx
housing out of predominantly white

Aldermanic manipulation of zoning,

“Zoning is their specifically downzoning, to limit the
density of housing, is used extensively
prerogative. They are despite significant consequences
elected by local residents to market rate rents. Downzoning
undermines future development and
in regards to the quality ensures that developers will need to
go through individual ward protocol to
of life they provide in secure higher zoning before projects may
be pursued.
each ward.”
— Mayor Richard M. Such restrictions on land-use in
predominantly white and low-poverty
Daley (2008).”
areas correspond to declining rental

Chicago’s affordability is declining, especially in the majority white North Side.

Zoning Advisory Councils and the disproportionate use of ZACs, the same
Development Proposal Process practices are seen within wards outside
One of the most powerful tools used to of the North and Northwest side that
influence zoning and development is the contain pockets of white neighborhoods.
use of constituent committees to decide For example, Alderman O’Shea’s 19th
or advise on most residential zoning ward on the Southwest Side has an
matters in the ward. These committees active ZAC and a history of attempting to
are intended to inform and consult with prevent new, “high density” residential
their respective aldermen on community development in those areas within his
processes ranging from rezoning to ward that are
sanitation. Ten wards, a majority of predominantly
which (eight) are on the North or white, such
“It’s not a perfect tool,
Northwest side, have established formal
Zoning Advisory Councils (ZAC) and
as Mount but it gives me cover.”
aldermen within these wards rely on the — Alderman Rey Colon,
ZAC as the primary informer on issues ZACs are formed
relating to residential and commercial and populated in discussing his
through various
development (see Appendix B for a
listing of ward ZACs). processes.  Many zoning advisory
aldermen ap- council (2008)

When looking on a granular level at point community

the demographics of wards with ZACs, members who
it is apparent that ZACs are often used they perceive as possessing specialized
not just to preserve the demographic knowledge of urban planning, using
makeup of a single ward, but also as their own discretion to determine who
a means of preserving predominantly can and should have access to and influ-
white populations within wards as well. ence over decision-making within their
This type of demographic preservation ward.70 In some cases, the balance of
transcends geographic trends. Despite professional expertise is tipped in favor
the North and Northwest Side’s of those who may benefit from commer

The June 1, 2016 meeting of the 41st Ward Zoning Advisory Committee on the 5150 N. Northwest Highway
proposal. (Heather Cherone/DNAinfo)

cial and/or upscale housing development cial developers. Processes range from
(such as commercial real estate develop- alerting all residents within 1,000 feet
ers and realtors) over affordable housing of the proposed site at the developer’s
development.71 ZACs use this power to expense, respecting architectural heri-
not only block zoning change requests tage, holding public hearings in conjunc-
but to impact the overall character and tion with the respective neighborhood
nature of a development. For example, associations, and/or obtaining certifica-
ZACs, as a pre-condition of receiving tion through the Chicago Green Homes
their approval, will often require a devel- Program.73 While many development
oper to reduce the number of affordable requirements
housing units in a project, reduce the are necessary
size of units so they are not available to components of
“Every alderman has
families with children, or even require
the developer to change their proposal to
a construction
site, such as a
their own local process
include for sale units rather than rental pledge to cease – some have internal
units.72 This is especially true in wards construction
on the North and Northwest sides of the at 8pm, many committees, some have
city. present signifi-
cant and costly
external committees,
Nine additional wards, six of which are
on the North or Northwest sides, in lieu
obstacles.74 some make the
of establishing official ZACs, call on These require- decision on their own.
resident advisors or neighborhood asso- ments and
ciations within their wards to coalesce accompanying They all have their own
into a type of ad hoc ZAC when needed.
Regardless of whether ZACs are formal
financial in-
vestment often
unique process that you
or more ad hoc, they possess tremen-
dous power in their abilities to influence
have the effect have to work with.”
of deterring
aldermen, and in many instances make developers from —Housing Developer
final decisions related to affordable attempting to
housing development, effectively shut- develop afford-
ting down proposals before the City’s able housing in
Department of Planning and Develop- certain wards entirely. In other cases,
ment’s own required consideration of a developers may spend significant time
proposal. and money on completing one or more
of these tasks, only to have their propos-
An additional and related hurdle to the al rejected at the whim of an alderman
development of affordable housing, most or their ZAC.
notably on the North and Northwest
sides, is the ward-level development A common element of the development
proposal processes, most often included processes is the formal or informal re-
as an additional and preliminary supple- quirement to hold a community meeting
ment to the Department of Planning and before the developer receives aldermanic
Development’s own required proposal support. Community meetings, although
process. Often developed by the ZACs intended to inform and elicit transparent
and aldermanic offices, these processes feedback, are often hijacked by a vocal
set forth a maze of varied ward-by-ward minority fearful of neighborhood change
requirements and subsequent cost-bur- and invite early and discriminatory op-
dens placed on residential and commer- position to a project. In neighborhoods

A resident speaks out against the proposal regarding 5150 N. Northwest Highway on February 9,
2017 at a public meeting in Jefferson Park. (Alex Nitkin/DNAinfo)

characterized by predominantly white black and/or Latinx wards with a ZAC,

populations, these community meetings whether informal or formal, have on av-
have become sounding boards for ex- erage 320% more affordable units in the
pressions of NIMBYism and fear-monger- ward than their majority white counter-
ing and can instigate significant conflict parts. Therefore,
between residents, aldermen, ZACs, and ZACs in predom-
developers. In many instances, such fear- inantly black “We would have a
based opposition is expressed in virtual and/or Latinx
spaces as well, such as EveryBlock or wards function public meeting and if
Facebook, where aldermen are known to differently than
participate.75 those in white the alderman felt it was
Equivalent ward-level discretion over
wards, with
too hot of an issue,
development does not exist to the same
extent in the city’s South and West Sides,
white ward ZACs they would pull their
blocking afford-
with some exceptions related to the in- able housing and support.”
tentional preservation of affordability in predominantly
areas that are resisting gentrification or black and/or Lat- —Housing Developer
the aforementioned concerted effort to
preserve predominantly white pockets.76
inx ward ZACs
facilitating the
While 62% of majority white wards have development of
a ZAC, 31% of majority black and/or affordable housing.
Latinx wards have a ZAC. Predominantly

Aldermen predominately use ZACs to prevent housing development in their wards.

The Process Of Securing Affordable
Housing Financing In Chicago
The developer identifies the site and confers with the local alderman about
the potential project. The developer also pursues non-city financing.

The developer prepares the initial application to DPD for multi-family financing. If
the developer does not have aldermanic support, it is unlikely the developer will
pursue the project due to considerable upfront financial costs. The DPD Multi-
family finance application also requires a letter of aldermanic support. Without it,
DPD will not accept the project for further review.

A complete application will be assigned to a DPD Development Officer. The
developer drafts an executive summary of the project. The application and
executive summary are sent to the DPD Internal Loan Committee for review. If the
Loan Committee recommends approval, DPD and the City’s law department draft a
loan ordinance and submit it to the City Council Committee on Finance.

The Finance Committee can indefinitely defer the consideration of the loan
ordinance, effectively preventing a decision on it. If the Finance Committee
recommends a vote on the ordinance it moves to the full City Council for

Due to the policy of aldermanic prerogative, 49 members of the City Council
will defer to the decision of the local alderman about the project and vote in
accordance with their wishes, effectively creating a single voter system on
multi-family applications for affordable housing.

If the City Council approves the financing proposal, materials are sent to the
City Law Department to prepare for closing. For the first time, the City considers
whether or not the project meet the Site and Neighborhood Standards. Even if the
project does not meet these standards, approval of the project at this juncture is
virtually guaranteed.

Case Study:
The Oliphant Development
The proposed Oliphant development in Edison Park serves as an
example of aldermanic zoning power through the ZAC. Edison
Park is a predominately white (89% white, 7% Latinx, and 1% black
with a total population of 11,150) , single family
home community on the North Side of Chicago
represented by Alderman Anthony Napolitano “It is a beautiful building,
and within the 41st ward. Home to many but it has no place in
employees of the City of Chicago, Edison Park
enjoys quality schools and a touted “small town” Edison Park.”77
feel.78 In 2016, developer Troy Realty proposed to —Edison Park Resident
construct a 44-unit ornate Italian Renaissance-
styled residential and commercial development (2016)
at 6655 N. Oliphant in Edison Park. Troy Realty
sought a zoning change from the city. Per city protocol and practice,
the developer was to secure that zoning change from Alderman
Napolitano. Alderman Napolitano, in turn, referred the request to his
Zoning Advisory Committee and vowed to uphold whatever decision
the ZAC made.79

Troy Realty’s Proposal, designed by Funke Architects, for the four-story development at 6655 N.
Oliphant in Chicago. (Troy Realty/Funke Architects)
Case Study: The Oliphant Development
On May 26, 2016, Alderman accused his political opponents
Napolitano sent an email of further inciting opposition to
to constituents announcing the development by claiming
a Zoning Advisory Council the project would create 127
meeting to discuss the Oliphant residential units which would
project, which expressly be rented to Housing Choice
identified the proposal as “Section 8” voucher holders.
creating rental units (the initial
proposal was for all of the In response to this opposition,
residential units to be rental). the developer agreed to reduce
As a condition of compliance the number of units from 44
with the 2007 Affordable to 30 and build condominium
Requirements Ordinance
triggered by the zoning change,
the developer was to set aside
four units as affordable and
rent them at no more than 60%
of the area median rent.80

On June 1, 2016, the Zoning

Advisory Committee met to
discuss the project at a local
park facility. The developer
opted-out of attending this
meeting as it had become
apparent that the presence
of groups opposed to this
development would dominate Alderman
the meeting. As a result of the rather than rental units. Under Anthony Napolitano
(Brian Jackson/
backlash, Napolitano urged the the ARO, the developer would Chicago Sun-Times)
developer to consider building still be required to sell three
condominiums rather than condominium units at 60% of
rental housing “in an attempt to the market price. Instead, the
win the community’s support.”81 developer agreed to sell one
When more than 500 people condominium unit at 60% of
showed up to object to the its market price and contribute
proposal, the ZAC had to move a $250,000 in-lieu-of fee to the
the meeting to the field house’s city’s affordable housing fund.
gym. Alderman Napolitano Nevertheless, community

Case Study: The Oliphant Development

opposition continued to here, so I want people who are

grow, with residents claiming living the same way as me.”84
the proposed project would Finally, in January 2017, the
burden overcrowded schools, ZAC voted against the mixed-
and create traffic and parking use development’s zoning
challenges, even though more change request. One of the
than 150 parking spaces would stated reasons for opposing
be provided and the bulk of the the development was the
30 units would be one and two- concern over “newcomers into
bedroom apartments. 82 the tight knit neighborhood.”85
Napolitano accepted ZAC’s
In two of the later public decision, effectively killing the
ZAC meetings regarding the proposal.86
development, the power of
ward residents to move their In defending the process,
alderman becomes abundantly Napolitano said, “[p]eople
clear. At the October 6, 2016 cherish where they live, and
meeting, Napolitano promised they want to safeguard it …
ward residents that he would They have every right to do that,
not allow the project to be built and I’ll protect their right to do
over their objections. “If the that, as long as I’m representing
community does not want it, I them.”87 “You have a lot of
do not want it,” he said. “I would people here who work for the
never do that to you.”83 city, and when they come back
home, they want it to be their
At the subsequent ZAC sanctuary,” Napolitano said.
meeting on November 10, “People are paying a lot to live
2016, the majority of the 65 in this neighborhood exactly as
attendees came to voice their it is, and they don’t necessarily
opposition to the project. One want to see it filled with multi-
resident said that she was unit rental buildings.”88
“paying massive taxes to live

Case Study:
A market rate rental project proposed apartments and
for the far West Side neighborhood of affordable housing
Galewood suffered a similar fate to the would bring to
Oliphant. While Galewood is a diverse Galewood.93 One
neighborhood, it has a larger white Galewood resident commented that “[w]
population than the predominately black e have so many strange people walking
community area surrounding it (Austin). in the area already. You’re talking about
Galewood is 50% black, 24% Latinx, more buildings, more strange people
and 23% white, compared to the Austin walking around.” Another resident
area being 82% black, 16% Latinx, and voiced similar concerns saying that “I
5% white.89 Home to many employees don’t care if you charge $1,800. There
of the City of Chicago, including many are certain people you want to live here,
fire and police employees, Galewood and certain people that you don’t.”94
enjoys quality schools and a community Responding to online rumors about
where “everyone knows each other.”90 who would live at the development,
In September 2017, Noah Properties Taliaferro assured residents that
proposed to construct an 80-unit, three- the project would not be eligible for
building luxury apartment complex on Housing Choice Vouchers. Although
6600-6700 W. North Avenue that would Taliaferro voiced support for the project
be composed of two-bedroom units, and argued that additional housing
most of which would be leased for on North Avenue would improve foot
$1,800 a month — 10% of which would traffic to North Avenue businesses, he
be affordable under the Affordable made clear the community’s view of the
Requirements Ordinance.91 project mattered greatly. “Community
input,” Taliaferro said. “That’s going to
Before approving the proposal, weigh whether we pursue it.”95
Alderman Chris Taliaferro (29th
Ward) sent the plan to a vote before On October 25, 2017, Taliaferro
Taliaferro’s ZAC, the 29th Ward North announced he would not support the
Avenue Business Development development. “After multiple community
Committee. Like most other ZACs, the meetings, the committee vote, and
North Avenue Business Development listening to the residents of Galewood,
Committee members are appointed by I will not support the proposed project,”
Taliaferro.92 Alderman Taliaferro also wrote Taliaferro in a letter posted to
held no less than four public meetings the 29th Ward Facebook page.96 This
on the proposed development. In the announcement effectively killed the
meetings, residents expressed concern project.
about the type of residents that rental

Case Study:
Portage Park is one of four opposition to the development
neighborhoods located within on EveryBlock, citing concerns
the 36th ward on the far related to increased crime,
Northwest Side of the city. declining property values,
While the 36th ward is 67% density, increased traffic, and
Latinx, 26% white, 4% black, parking shortages.100 Other
and 3% Asian,97 comments made derogatory
Portage Park is the only
plurality white neighborhood
within the ward with 49%
white, 43% Latinx, and 1%
black, and a total population
of 64,523. Considered part of
the bungalow belt, the ward
is represented by Alderman
Gilbert Villegas.

In January 2016, Full Circles

Communities proposed the
development of a $17 million,
55-unit affordable housing
complex, called the Central, A Jan 26, 2016 community meeting on a 55-unit affordable housing
proposal at 3655 N. Central Avenue ended with Alderman Gilbert
for veterans in Portage Park.98 Villegas committing not to move forward with the project.
The lot for the proposed (Brian Nadig/ Nadig Newspapers)
development had sat vacant for
more than 10 years. and discriminatory statements
about the development’s
As part of development potential residents. “I have over
process requirements for 15 years of law enforcement
the ward, Alderman Villegas experience and working in low-
requested that the Full Circle income areas and high-income
developers hold a community areas. I Have worked in high
meeting prior to Full Circle income areas in Lincoln park
receiving city permits or which have low income housing
applying for state low-income apartments, marshalfield
housing tax credits.99 Prior gardens and Cabrini green, but
to the meeting, Portage Park are responsible for 90 percent of
community members voiced robberies, shootings and drug

transactions which occur daily. This idea human element” of the project due to
is a disaster and we are all in big trouble the housing resources it would bring to
if it comes. We all need to unite and families looking for assistance.106
come together and oppose this plan. As
taxpayers, homeowners and residents The meeting ended with Alderman
who care about our neighborhoods we Villegas pulling the plug on the project:
need to stand up to this new alderman “I’ve heard nothing but ‘you don’t want
and let him know it is Not in our interest this,’” Villegas told the crowd. “I don’t
to put our families in danger.”(sic)101 think we’re going to move forward
with this.”107 Just a few hours after
Another commenter asked “[a]re the community meeting, Villegas
Muslim refugees in the plan to settle in officially announced that he would not
the building? Mosque is at Narragansett be supporting the proposal. Villegas
and Belmont. Our political leaders, indicated that the overwhelming
Obama, Durbin, Quigley and the Mayor negative response from community
are supporting the efforts to bring them
members drove his decision: “The
over by plane loads.”102
response from the community tonight
was overwhelming. I have decided not
More than 500 residents showed up
to support the proposed development
to the January 26, 2016 community
at 3655 W. Central Ave. I hope to see
meeting.103 A second meeting had to
new options in the near future.”108 The
be scheduled to accommodate the
following year, Full Circle Communities
residents who were denied access due
proposed the same project at 5150
to overcrowding concerns.104 Many
Northwest Highway in Jefferson Park.
in attendance expressed concerns
that the project would attract crime In June 2017, Alderman Villegas
to the area. “They’ll come in and treat announced that Anthem Memory Care
this place like crap,” one woman said.105 was planning on developing a three-
Other residents wanted to limit the story, 66-bed assisted living facility
prospective tenants to seniors and in Portage Park. At a community
veterans, noting that children may meeting, where the proposal was
engage in criminal activity. Alderman met with praise, developer Bernard
Nicholas Sposato, whose 38th ward Edelman promised that he would
borders the 36th ward, also attended not build any affordable housing,
the meeting. Sposato said that acknowledging that the community
some of the crime concerns were had made its opposition clear during
overstated. “I’m sick and tired of people the Full Circle development process:
saying it’s a crime-ridden neighborhood,” “I wouldn’t insult the neighborhood by
Sposato said. “You do not live in an even thinking like that.”109
unsafe community.” Full Circle staff
urged the audience to think about “the

Downzoning & Landmarking redevelop existing properties by reducing
By reducing density through or eliminating “zoning headroom” or
downzoning, aldermen increase the the difference between the amount
power they have to block affordable of development (floor area/number
housing development by preemptively of dwelling units) that exists on a
reducing the likelihood of higher density particular property and what is allowed
proposals and ensuring proposals that do by the zoning district in which it is
come through will trigger ward specific located. By reducing zoning headroom,
approval processes, such as Zoning properties that may have been targets
Advisory Council approval. for redevelopment, with a potential for
an affordable
By reducing allowable density, housing housing
supply is constricted, raising not component, “If I know what is best
only housing cost – particularly rents
– but land value as well, much to
are in effect
for my community,
the detriment of affordable housing
development. Downzoning also
who are they to tell me
Aldermen have
eliminates the potential incentive to used their land- otherwise?” 110

use powers to
downzone large —Quoted from
rezoning to a more
swathes of land,
often under
Alderman Beale in
restrictive classification with pressure from response to questions
local community
respect to either floor area
group who about aldermanic
ratio (F.A.R.) or minimum opposed
lot area per dwelling unit developments downzoning (2018)
(M.L.A.) which limits the (affordable or
amount of floor area and otherwise). In areas where development
number of dwelling units pressure exists, areas suitable for
multifamily development are frequently
allowed on a site. downzoned to reduce the allowable
floor area and number of dwelling units
Landmarking: permitted in an attempt to prevent or
as defined by the Chicago limit new construction. Again, this power
Landmarks Ordinance is not equalized. Downzoning to advance
is to preserve and future affordable housing opportunities
is not always offered the same support
protect historically and
from the city as downzoning with the
architecturally significant intention to block it.
buildings and districts.
Landmarking limits Additional restrictions on the
densities by ensuring development potential in an area can
be enacted through the application of
that designated property landmark districts. Although originated
cannot be demolished with the motivation to preserve historic
or significantly altered structures, the Chicago Landmarks
without permission of the Ordinance has been used to promote
Landmarks Commission. racial and economic segregation.
Historically, aldermen have expressed

concern that landmarking has not had project, the 2017, 44 unit Independence
the intended results and has become Library Project in the 45th ward. 1% of
another form of downzoning, used by the total new, affordable multifamily
neighborhood associations to control units have been constructed in these
development.111 During the Landmarks wards, despite containing 25% of the
Commission’s hearing in October 1976, present multifamily zoned land of the
Alderman Bernard Stone of 5th ward city.
commented, “there is a danger of
indiscriminate use of the Landmarks Lincoln Park alone accounts for 18%
Ordinance as a substitute for rezoning. of the residential downzonings in
We have been considering hodge podge the city since 1970, and has seen a
proposals.”112 corresponding 25% loss of its population
since 1960. Rent in the community
Once a landmark designation has area is remarkably high and increasing
been made, it is virtually impossible to as the remaining duplex housing
develop affordable units. Any alteration stock is redeveloped into luxury single
or modification of designated landmarks family homes, which remain as the
or properties in landmark districts must only viable development type in the
be approved by the city’s Commission community area, as this type of housing
on Chicago Landmarks through a does not require zoning approval from
process that can require permit fees, the alderman. The few multifamily
public hearings, and appeals to the City developments that have occurred
Council.113 Designated landmarks are have face protracted legal battles from
also subject to additional building code community opponents, regardless of
restrictions and limitations not imposed affordable housing components.
on non-landmark buildings or districts. Lincoln Park and Lake View have
Lastly, landmarking can substantially experienced a concurrent decline in the
limit the availability of affordable availability of rental housing and the
housing by inhibiting the modification or affordability of the remaining rental
development of residential properties.114 units. Since 1970, the community areas
have lost 25% of their rental housing
As politically controlled and localized stock and the percentage of affordable
land-use tools, downzoning and units of any size has decline from nearly
landmarking have been applied more 50% to an estimated 12%.115
forcefully in predominantly white,
low-poverty areas and have shaped Comparatively, since 1970 wards
these wards over time, altering future with a majority black and/or Latinx
development potential. Since 1970, population have downzoned 0.09
the average majority white ward has square feet of space for every remaining
downzoned or landmarked 0.46 square foot of multifamily zoning present in
feet of space for every remaining foot their wards today. These aldermen do
of multifamily zoning in their wards exercise their zoning powers, but at a
today, significantly reducing the supply rate nearly five times slower than their
of housing and erecting barriers to counterparts in majority white wards.
housing development. Excluding the These 35 wards account for just under
46th ward previously represented by 30% of total downzoning’s in the city.
affordable housing supporter, Alderman 96% of new, affordable multifamily
Helen Shiller, the 13 other majority units are constructed in these wards,
white wards account for 48% of the disproportionately high compared to the
total downzoning’s in the city and only 75% of the multifamily zoned land area
a single new construction multifamily they comprise.

Downzoning and landmarking are overwhelming used in the affluent, north lakefront wards.

Case Study
8601 W. Bryn Mawr
After the fallout from the
Higgins Road project, Alderman
Napolitano used downzoning to
limit future rental housing in his
ward, specifically in the O’Hare
community area that is 73%
white, 9% Latinx, and 2% black
with a total population of 12,902.
In a letter to his constituents,
Napolitano said that in response
to “high-density” developments
that “do not have the best interests
of our neighborhood in mind”
he had downzoned another
planned development. “Working
with the [DPD], I discovered
another Planned Development
in this area that needed to be
addressed.” Napolitano had found
that PD#347, located at 8601
W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, originally
designated a “Commercial
Only” Planned Development,
had been amended in 2013 to
allow for the development of
397 residential units. Napolitano
assured his constituents that he
had introduced an ordinance to “My priority as your
revert this PD back to its original
commercial only status:
Alderman is to always advocate
for your interests above all else.”
–Alderman Napolitano,
41st Ward (2018)

Case Study:
Milwaukee Avenue

Anthony Joel Quezada, staffer of Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, addressing a community meeting regarding the rezoning of
Milwaukee Avenue on October 30, 2017. (Mina Bloom/DNAinfo)

While the City Council deferred to Working in concert with community

Alderman Napolitano’s aldermanic groups and affordable housing
prerogative to downzone 8601 N. Bryn advocates, Alderman Ramirez-
Mawr in order to block affordable Rosa has often utilized downzoning
housing, Alderman Carlos Ramirez- to curb gentrification. Like most
Rosa, when attempting to downzone aldermen on the Northside of Chicago,
to promote affordable housing was Alderman Ramirez-Rosa engages
granted no such deference. Alderman in a community-driven process for
Rosa represents Chicago’s 35th Ward, zoning. Ramirez-Rosa requires that all
which is located in the Northwest Side meetings on zoning be public and that
of Chicago and in a rapidly gentrifying anyone who attends the meeting have
community, including one of the city’s the opportunity to vote, with votes
fastest gentrifying neighborhoods, weighted depending on how close the
Logan Square. The ward is 69% Latinx, voter lives to the proposed project.
20% white, 5% black, and 5% Asian,
while Logan Square is 45% white, In August 2017, in an effort to stem
45% Latinx, and 5% black, with a total the tide of up-zoning and high-density
population of 74,606.116 development, a coalition of community

organizations called on Alderman interrupted Ramirez-Rosa to note
Ramirez-Rosa to rezone Milwaukee that he was “born and raised in
Avenue from Central Park to Kimball this community. I’ve seen 10,000
so that high-density buildings would working class families – Latinos,
have to undergo public scrutiny.117 too – move out of this community.”120
The downzoning would trigger the The committee voted to move the
ARO and ensure a process for future downzoning forward, with 39 voting in
zoning proposals that would support support and 8 opposed.121
affordable housing. In October 2017,
Alderman Ramirez-Rosa introduced But the downzoning proposal never
the rezoning proposals to the City moved forward. Zoning Chairman
Council.118 On October 30,, 2017, Solis indefinitely deferred the matter in
Alderman Ramirez-Rosa held a the Zoning Committee, citing concerns
community meeting for feedback on from the city’s Law Department. In
the downzoning proposals.119 The spite of multiple requests by Alderman
meeting was emotionally charged, Ramirez-Rosa for an explanation, Solis
and attendees debated the impacts has not responded.
of gentrification. One attendee

2) EVADING AFFORDABLE encouraged to pay the in-lieu fees rather

REQUIREMENTS than construct units on site. Additionally
ORDINANCE aldermen control all zoning activity
within their ward boundaries and have
Chicago’s Affordable Requirements the power to alter the allowable density
Ordinance (ARO) mandates an of development or even permitted uses
affordable housing component for all on any particular parcel of land within
projects that require rezoning, use of those boundaries. The city’s ARO is
city-owned lots, or that receive city triggered by rezonings that, for the most
financial assistance. Along with having part, increase density. Aldermen may
de facto veto power over ARO triggers impede affordable development within
through the exercise of aldermanic their wards by simply refusing to support
prerogative, aldermen also have zoning changes that would trigger
discretion over the manner in which the the ARO, or by preemptively reducing
requirements of the ARO are satisfied. density or rezoning to a district that does
Under the current ARO, developers may not allow for residential use.122
construct units on-site, off-site, or pay an
in-lieu fee (into a city fund earmarked The ARO has been amended several
for subsidizing rent or funding times because it is not achieving the
affordable housing developments) intended results of creating affordable
in order to comply. In wards where housing opportunities in low-poverty
aldermen or their constituents are areas. This is largely due to aldermanic
averse to the construction of affordable powers to evade ARO requirements. In
housing, invariably, developers are March 2017, the Office of Inspector

General of Chicago (OIG) reported an the ARO in predominantly white wards
audit of the Department of Planning did not include on-site affordable units.
and Development’s administration of Wards without a predominantly white
the Affordable Housing Requirements presence opted-out of on-site affordabil-
Ordinance. One of the main goals of the ity in 67% of
audit was to determine the geographic developments.
outcomes of ARO units both on-site and This high opt- “Individual aldermen, for
those financed through city funds. The out rate across
OIG ultimately found that the city was the board is example, exert influence
doing little to further geographically indicative of
equitable affordable housing and the financial on the question of
explicitly identified aldermanic
prerogative as an impediment: “OIG
disincentive to
build on-site.
whether to bring ARO
understands that there are multiple As most wards and Density Bonus fee-
parties involved with the city’s decision covered by the
on where and how to invest ARO and 2015 non-buy- funded development
Density Bonus fees, including aldermen,
community members, and the developers
out provisions
are majority
into their wards or,
themselves. Individual aldermen, for white, the alternatively, to keep
example, exert influence on the question landscape post
of whether to bring ARO and Density 2015 looks such developments out.”
Bonus fee-funded development into
their wards or, alternatively, to keep
different, with
—OIG Audit Findings
such developments out.”123 The OIG 17% of ARO (2017)
recommended that if the Department triggering
of Planning and Development had an developments
empirically-based strategy for equally opting out of affordable unit provisions
distributing affordable housing across in predominantly white wards and 24%
the city, then it might be able to combat in wards without a predominantly white
aldermanic sway by more effectively population. However, this amounts to
incentivizing aldermen to approve just 39 units in the 17 projects in ma-
affordable housing options. jority white wards, and 94 units in the
17 projects in majority non-white wards
Prior to the 2015 ordinance amend- under the post 2015 ARO.
ments, 82% of developments triggering

ARO EXPLAINED were to increase residents’ access to
a geographic diversity of affordable
housing options. City officials and
Seeking to address a shortfall of
housing stakeholders found that there
nearly 49,000 affordable housing
was little opportunity to incentivize
rental options in Chicago, in 2003, City
developers to include affordable
Council passed the first iteration of the
housing options,125 given the narrow
Affordable Requirements Ordinance
circumstances under which a
(ARO).124 An individual or family
developer was required to include ARO
qualifies for affordable housing if their
options. Recognizing the potential
household income falls below 60% of
areas in need of improvement, City
the area median household income.
Council amended the ARO. The 2007
The 2003 ARO was relatively lax in
ARO expanded the conditions that
its affordable housing requirements
would trigger ARO requirements:
because it only specified requirements
in two narrow circumstances when a 1) whenever the developer received
building was proposed with 10 or more a zoning change that permitted
residential units: a higher floor area ratio, changed
the plot from a non-residential
1) whenever the city sold land to
to a residential use, or permitted
a private developer below market
residential uses on ground floor;
2) whenever land was purchased
2) whenever a developer received
from the city even if it was at market
city funding, particularly TIF money.
value; or
In the first instance, to meet the
3) whenever the building
affordable requirements, the developer
was proposed on a Planned
would either have to set aside 10%
Development (PD) in a downtown
of the building’s units for affordable
zoning district.
housing or pay an in-lieu-of fee of
$100,000 per unit, paid into a city The idea was to capture zoning
fund earmarked for subsidizing changes that many developers in low-
rent or funding affordable housing poverty areas seek, in the hope that
developments. In the second instance, this would incentivize the construction
where the developer received city of affordable housing in the downtown
funding, 20% of the building’s units and Northside areas. The 2007 ARO
would have to be set aside for also rounded-up when counting
affordable housing or pay the in-lieu of the number of units for affordable
fee of $100,000 per unit. housing, so a 20 unit building would
require 2 units for affordable housing,
The 2003 ARO had accomplished whereas a building with 21-29 units
very little in the way of reaching the would have to set aside 3 units for
ordinance’s original goals, which affordable housing. However, the

in-lieu of fee remained set at building affordable housing
$100,000. near public transit, and included
an option for downtown area
Once again city officials developers to build their
and affordable housing required affordable housing
stakeholders found the 2007 units off-site. The 2015 ARO
ARO wanting. In 2015, city aimed at not only incentivizing
council passed a new ARO.126 the inclusion of affordable
The 2015 ARO, similar to the housing throughout all of the
2007 amendments, expanded City of Chicago, but placed
the circumstances in which a greater emphasis on the
developer would be required inclusion of affordable housing
to include affordable housing in the downtown area, in high-
units, but it also raised the in- income areas, and near public
lieu of fee for higher-income transit hubs.
areas, included incentives for

3) ACCESS TO CITY FUNDS not be reviewed by the administration’s

internal loan committee—a necessary
Aldermanic Support Requirements step in the approval process—unless and
Typically, affordable housing projects until there is documented aldermanic
utilize a mosaic of funding sources ap- support.127 Once the internal loan
proved by Chicago City Council. By and committee approves the project, an
large Low-Income Housing Tax Credits Intergovernmental Affairs Memo packet
(LIHTC) available from both the State of is prepared for
Illinois and the City of Chicago are the
primary source of financing with other
City Council
review. Internal
“You absolutely need
city programs such as the Multifamily
Loan Program (MFLP) providing gap
procedures aldermanic approval
dictate that this
financing. Allocation and distribution of packet must before going to DPD
these funds require “evidence of com- include a signed
munity support” and in the case of the aldermanic with a proposal. This is
MFLP, a letter of aldermanic support.
At a very basic level, aldermen control
support letter—
the first item
part of unwritten rules
the funding mechanisms for affordable listed in the of doing development”
housing and have the power to refuse mandatory
funding for developments they do not checklist.128 –Housing
approve of. This holds true for all forms Chicago’s
of financial support including TIF and Multifamily
Developer (2018)
city-owned lots. Financing
Program Guide also directs project
The City of Chicago’s internal managers, when conducting feasibility
Department of Housing Procedures reviews, to assess the level of aldermanic
(2004), note that development projects and community support. Finally,
in need of city funds over $150,000 will Chicago’s Qualified Allocation Plan

Chicago’s Multifamily Loan Program
Chicago channels significant projects deferred to later dates.
portions of the HUD funds The Department of Planning
it receives for affordable and Development performs
housing development into the application reviews, focusing
Multifamily Loan program. on responsible use of funds,
The MFLP centralizes the and will then move the project
application for all affordable to City Council for a vote—a
housing funds. The financing process triggered by the
sources include low-income presence of $150,000 or more
housing tax credits, federal, of federal dollars.129
state, and local funds (including
TIF). These funds are awarded As the MFLP aggregates
as first and second mortgage multiple funds, it also
loans, city land, and city bonds. aggregates, and in practice
Developers are responsible for abdicates, fair housing
identifying projects, performing requirements. DPD primarily
groundwork, and approaching handles this by including
the department with an language in the application
application for funding. that places the burden of
ensuring adherence to federal
A subset of the projects are requirements on the developer.
selected each year, with some

aligns with these internal procedures support requirements and burdensome

by requiring development applications application processes and costs. For
to include “evidence of community example,
input and support for the project.”130 in addition
Not only do these requirements hinder to pre- “[because of aldermanic
development but they are inconsistent
with fair housing requirements and
prerogative] you end up
recent guidance by the Internal Revenue the first in some of the usual
Service. IRS Revenue Ruling 2016-29 stage of the
clarified that the Internal Revenue Code two-stage wards, you tend to
“neither requires nor encourages housing application
credit agencies to honor local vetoes.”131 process has
get back to the usual
MFLP projects are continually sited
30 items,
outside of predominantly white and “a Plan for —Housing Developer
low-poverty areas. This concentration Community
is unlikely to change due to aldermanic Input, and (2018)

a letter of support from the alderman.”132 Between the start of 1992 and the end of
Each portion of the application has a 2017, the city approved loans for nearly
significant cost, which must be borne 3,394 subsidized units of multifamily
by the developer. High cost uncertainty housing in new construction projects:
over the approval of the development
and high likelihood of rejection in • 3,052 (90%) of these units were lo-
predominantly white and low-poverty cated outside of predominantly white
areas, drive developers to restrict their and low-poverty areas.
operations to safer bets—areas where • Just 5 wards, or 10% of total wards,
affordable housing has previously been accepted over half (59%) of all units,
approved. while the aldermen of more than
half (27 or 54% of total) of Chicago’s
It is this relationship, between devel- wards did not accept even a single
opers and housing-friendly aldermen, multifamily unit.
which leads to the accumulation of
affordable housing in a few select areas • For the wards that opted-out of
of the city. By way of unofficial relation- affordable housing, 62% of their con-
ships and required descriptions of past stituent block groups were majority
work within the city in the MFLP appli- white and low-poverty.
cation, a feedback loop emerges where
developers who receive federal funds While evidence was clearly available to
are deemed more capable of performing demonstrate that all of Chicago’s fam-
additional development and those who ily rental housing was being located in
do not are less likely to receive funding predominantly black and/or Latinx and
in the future. Many developers express high poverty areas, aldermen continued
frustration with the aldermanic support to wield aldermanic prerogative to erect
requirement because it deters developers barriers to affordable housing projects in
from expending resources in areas where white areas.
they know it will be futile to seek local
Inequities within affordable housing
approval based on their own past expe-
development become even more
rience, or the experience of others in the
apparent when breaking down
industry. After multiple FOIA requests
development by
and interviews with developers, there is
housing type.
no evidence of a project receiving funds
without a letter of aldermanic support.
Concentration “Aldermen on the
of housing
The letter of support is, in actuality,
the most important and very first thing
varies by target Northside see senior
attended to by a developer. Despite using
with senior
housing as a no brainer,
the same application and process for se-
curing subsidies, senior housing does not
having a
a political win that won’t
show the same absolute concentration by
wards. For example, despite seniors (or
relatively offend anyone.”
more equitable
those over age 65) making up only 10%
of Chicago’s population, senior housing
placement. —Housing Advocate
made up 39% of all affordable new con-
It seems that
struction and preservation from 2009-
relax their
2013. Senior housing is also the only
use of zoning tools to restrict housing
type of affordable housing constructed in
development considerably for senior
predominantly white areas.133
housing; the same majority white

wards which account for 2% of new allowed the development of affordable
construction multifamily housing housing.
account for 15% of all senior housing.
Tax Increment Financing
From 1992-2017, 64% of the almost Tax increment financing in Chicago
6,900 units of senior housing was placed is controlled by City Council. The
outside of predominantly white wards. Community Development Commission
The top 5 wards accounted for 27% of acts as a recommending body, working
the total units and only 3 wards opt- through the Department of Planning
out of senior development completely. and Development, and requiring council
Senior and multifamily developments approval prior to any action.134 Such
use the same application, have access actions can include the designation
to the same resources, and the same of redevelopment areas, creation of
review process as the multifamily units. redevelopment plans (including the
Differences in the outcomes of the tar- enumeration of objectives for the area),
geted buildings are not attributable to
differences in the program as written,
but to disparities in the execution of the
Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
program. One of the main differences is
that senior housing is simply less con- is a government finance tool intended to
troversial, and is not associated with the combat blight and enable investment in
same negative stereotypes that multifam- distressed areas. Establishing a TIF district
ily developments are. Lower community freezes current tax revenues in a defined
opposition opens up more of the city and area for up to 23 years and applies any tax
reduces dependence on positive rela-
tionships with specific aldermen. Multi-
revenue growth above the base level (the tax
family developers rarely move outside of increment) into a special fund for payment
their service areas, and if they do, they on projects within the area. The boundaries
often work with other aldermen known and eligible uses of the TIF funds are limited
to be amendable to family affordable by the ordinance establishing the individual
housing; efforts to develop in other
district, which is the purview of the City
wards become cost and time prohibitive
due to aldermanic prerogative. Council in Chicago.

The relative distribution of senior

projects suggests that a more equitable
spatial placement of family affordable
housing units is indeed possible were
it not for community opposition and its
influence on aldermanic prerogative.
Fear of neighborhood racial change has
hindered balanced family affordable
housing development in Chicago and
undercuts the city’s duty to affirmatively
further fair housing. Changing the
process, specifically removing aldermen
as gatekeepers for development in
their wards, would make it viable for
developers to operate outside of the Outside of City Council chambers, affordable housing advocates speak against
limited areas which have historically a TIF subsidy for an Uptown luxury apartment on January 11, 2016. (Ellyn
Fortino/Progress Illinois)

acquiring or dispossessing of property, result is that majority white, low poverty
and lending or grant making with TIF wards spend less TIF on affordable
funds or bonds.135 Due to the council’s family housing than the wards with
adherence to aldermanic prerogative, higher poverty levels and higher black
the application of TIF Districts and TIF and/or Latinx populations.
funding requires the support of the local
alderman. 4) CONTROL OF
Through state enabling statutes,
projects selected for funding must The City of Chicago controls a large
be consistent with the goals of the inventory of parcels throughout the
local redevelopment plan.136 Though city and, through various programs,
TIF can be used for a wide array of makes them available to developers,
projects, including affordable housing, community organizations, and the public
requiring consistency with a council at large. This land inventory provides
approved redevelopment plan allows opportunities to build affordable
aldermen to constrain the scope of housing by reducing a major cost barrier
uses and deny housing developers to development, especially in highly
TIF funds. In fact, affordable housing desirable areas. In fact, any sale of city-
must be explicitly included in the owned land for residential development
plan to be considered an “allowable triggers the city’s Affordable
use.”137 Many TIF districts have an Requirements Ordinance mandating 10%
industrial focus, creating a reasonable of the units be affordable.
rationale for excluding housing from the
redevelopment plan, but others exclude Indeed, city-owned land is often used
affordable housing from their objectives in affordable development projects as a
despite covering commercial areas with part of the “local matching contribution”
viable zoning for mixed-use. Other required for the use of federal funds such
districts use specificity to shape the type as the HOME program. Projects that
of housing allowed. For example, the do utilize city-owned land for housing
Western Avenue North Redevelopment developments are universally located in
Plan encourages “the development of the South and West Sides of the city. No
Senior Housing” and no other types.138 city-owned parcel of land has been used
to build a single affordable dwelling
With these limitations, aldermen mostly unit in the majority white, low-poverty
avoid affordable housing-related TIF wards on the north side of the city. This,
requests; however, any use of TIF even though the city owns and controls
funds still requires a council vote for over 56 acres of land in these areas as
approval. As an additional mechanism of the publishing of the latest inventory
for aldermen to deny housing funds, in October, 2017. Disposition of the
the vote guarantees that only aldermen properties requires city council action
friendly to affordable housing will thus providing the opportunity for the
use TIF for those purposes. The result exercise of aldermanic prerogative.
is that TIF is actively used by 48 of Not only is land disposition under the
50 wards, but in various proportions Negotiated Sales Program subject to
for housing. 34 wards have used TIF a letter of aldermanic support and
for affordable housing targeted to Redevelopment Agreement with the city,
some population group, but only 16 but certain parcels may be earmarked by
wards have used TIF for non-CHA aldermen for “potential city projects,” in
family affordable housing units. The effect removing them

Case Study:
In November 2012, Alderman opposed to affordable
Cappleman announced the housing.”142
development of a glass
800-unit luxury high rise at In February 2014, Alderman
the former site of Maryville James Cappleman’s
Academy in the Montrose/ development committee
Clarendon TIF District.139 This announced the approval of
would fall within the Uptown the use of $14 million in TIF
Community Area that is 54% funds towards the project.143
white, 19% black, and 13% However, JDL was seeking
Latinx with a total population
of 56,296. This project began
under his predecessor, “This is an urgent matter we
Alderman Helen Shiller, who need to rush through.”
insisted that the developer
commit 20% of the units as
(Alderman Burke)
affordable pursuant to the
20% affordability requirements $32 million in TIF funds to
of the TIF and the 10% support the $220 million deal.144
affordability requirements of When they could not secure
the ARO.140 After Alderman additional TIF funds, JDL
Cappleman took power, the Development then reduced the
developer, JDL Development, units to 380.145 According to the
stated that they would lower Redevelopment Agreement and
the amount of affordable the Community Development
housing units to a 10% set- Staff Report for the Montrose/
aside by contributing to the Clarendon TIF District, the city
city’s affordable housing fund.141 and the developer settled on 20
The president of JDL, James affordable units (5% of the total
Letchinger, defended the units) and a $5.7 million in-lieu
decision to substantially reduce fee for the remaining 57 units
the number of affordable units required by the ARO. JDL was
within the project. “There is to receive $15.8 million in TIF
too much low-income housing funds.146
in the neighborhood already,”
Letchinger said. “Neighbors Local affordable housing
have been overwhelmingly advocates objected to the deal,

arguing that the allocation of violating the Open Meetings
TIF funds for a luxury housing Act by systemically blocking
project went against the the organizers from the May
stated goals of TIF. When the and June Council meetings
matter came before the City when the city approved the
Council, city staff blocked development on the Montrose/
affordable housing advocates Clarendon TIF District.147
from gaining access to council
chambers, by marking seating In December 2016, a judge
as “reserved” and having city ruled that the Council did
staff interns fill seats. indeed violate the Open
Meetings Act, and ordered
In July 2016, advocates filed the city to come up with new
a lawsuit against the city, rules for addressing public
claiming that the City Council comments.148

from the developable land inventory. and were not low-poverty at the time the
Aldermen opposed to the construction parcels were given to developers.
of affordable housing in their wards may
withhold city-owned land for “other Despite the high percentage of NHFC
purposes” or simply refuse to approve units placed outside of predominantly
sale of land resources for housing white and low-poverty areas, the
projects eliminating the application of city-owned land inventory does have
the city’s ARO. potential for development in low-poverty
areas: 324 parcels with a total area of
The city owns 12,986 lots, most on 2,413,660 square feet fall within low-
the South and West Sides.149 The city poverty areas. An analysis of these city-
maintains several programs which owned land inventory identified parcels
make the lots available to developers by size and current zoning estimates and
for a variety of uses. For housing, most found a portion sufficient to develop,
city lots are made available through estimating 2,567 units by right in
the New Homes for Chicago (NHFC) low-poverty areas, 615 of which are
and City Lots for City Living program. located in some of the wealthiest and/
Under these programs, Chicago makes or quickest gentrifying, communities
residential lots available for one dollar in Chicago including Lakeview, Lincoln
and provides permit fee waivers to Park, the Near North Side, Near West
eligible developers.150 The developers Side, Near South Side, Logan Square,
build single family and two flat homes and West Town. If all of these parcels
on the lots and, for income eligible were developed with new, multifamily
buyers, provide an additional purchase housing through the NHFC or Negotiated
price subsidy of up to $30,000 from Sales Program in combination with the
the city’s HOME allocation. As of the MFLP, the supply of affordable housing in
2016 ACS estimates, 93% of the NHFC opportunity areas would nearly double.
developments were located outside However, Aldermanic prerogative creates
of low-poverty areas. The 7% that are a major impediment to accessing and
located in low-poverty areas are in developing these parcels for affordable
communities which have been under housing.
immense gentrification pressure recently,

5) USE OF PARLIAMENTARY committee chairperson has the power
AND EXTRA- to defer matters upon the request of
PARLIAMENTARY POWER an alderman and may “defer a matter
indefinitely” which would have the effect
In situations where zoning relief is of killing the project “in committee.”
required for an affordable housing This “courtesy” is a component of
development, or a residential project aldermanic prerogative, indicative of
that triggers the city’s ARO, aldermen deference to zoning matters to individual
have been known to use parliamentary aldermen. While it is well known in the
and extra-parliamentary maneuvers development
to delay, or in essence, stop projects community
in the approval process. In this sense, at large, and
“They were given
affordable housing is treated much
differently from market-rate and luxury well known courtesies outside of the
housing deals. Whereas in the Case for developers
Study Montrose/Clarendon TIF District, of affordable normal due process—
Alderman Edward Burke, chairman of
the City Council Finance Committee, the exercise
and outside of normal
when discussing the luxury TIF of aldermanic aldermanic privilege
development, expressed: “[t]his (TIF) prerogative
is an urgent matter we need to rush ensures that dictates.”
through.”151 Advocates speculated that
this urgency stemmed from the soon- developments —Housing Advocate,
to-be in effect 2015 ARO amendments, will not
get zoning
in reference to
which would enhance the required
inclusion of affordable housing units.152 approval— the opponents of an
Expediency, however is generally there is
not awarded to affordable housing no formal affordable housing
restriction on
developments. To the contrary, aldermen
who wish to block affordable housing a developer development (2018)
deals have employed extra-procedural who wishes a
deferrals to extinguish deals. hearing before the City Council Zoning,
Landmarks, and Building Standards
Part of the reason aldermanic Committee. However, a developer
prerogative is so effective is the would only request a meeting before
deference given to this power when City Council’s Zoning, Landmarks, and
exercised. City Council members, Building Standards Committee in the
especially when the power is being used rare occurrence when the developer
to block affordable housing, defer to has made the decision to sue on the
aldermanic ward decisions and even matter, requiring the exhaustion of
foster efforts to carry those wishes out. administrative means before the case
is ripe for litigation. In these cases, the
All zoning map amendments and parliamentary maneuver of deferring or
planned developments are required to indefinitely deferring the matter for 6
be reviewed by Chicago City Council months will have the effect of denying
Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and the application, regardless of whether
Building Standards before going to full City Council has a vote on the
the full City Council for passage. The application or not.

Case Study:
The jefferson park trANSIT CORRIDOR

Jefferson Park is located within that the proposal was too

the 45th ward on the Northwest dense, too big, too tall, too
Side of Chicago and is 64% close to single family homes,
white, 23% Latinx, and 1% and would set a dangerous
black with a total population precedent for the Northside
of 26,755.154 The 45th ward with one resident stating: “We
is represented by Alderman want to keep our neighborhood
John Arena. The 45th ward’s a neighborhood.”157 Meeting
alderman since 2011, Arena fierce opposition, crystallizing
has supported affordable in a 650-signatory petition
housing efforts, including calling on
signing a pledge to bring Alderman “You can have an
at least 50 CHA-sponsored Arena to
apartments to the ward before reject the
alderman who is
his term ends. Jefferson Park proposal,158 courageous every now
is home to many city and Alderman and then, someone
county employees and has Arena
been known as the “Gateway scrapped the will stand up for racial
to Chicago” in recognition of plan, fearing justice, but because of
the community as a main the possibility
transportation hub for the of losing segregation s/he… will
city.155 reelection in potentially lose their
In 2014, on a property vacant seat.” 153

for over 20 years and located at After winning — Housing Advocate, 2018
the intersection of Long Avenue reelection in
and Argyle Street near the 2015, Alder-
Jefferson Park Transit Center, man Arena moved forward with
Alderman Arena unveiled a his commitment to revitalize
plan for developing two five- the Jefferson Park Transit
story apartment buildings with Center Area.160 Returning to
48 apartments.156 Opponents the 48-unit proposal, Alderman
of the plan, most notably the Arena reduced the two-
Jefferson Park Neighborhood buildings from five-stories to
Association (JPNA), feared four-stories, while remaining

Case Study: The jefferson park transit corridor
committed to the 48 total units, the Northwest Highway
five of which would be set development proposal, 5150
aside for affordable housing.161 N. Northwest Highway, a
The JPNA reaffirmed their seven-story L-shaped building
opposition to any development with 100 units, 80 of which
that would require a zoning will be offered at affordable
change to increase density.162 rents, including 20 reserved
In May of 2016, JPNA members for Chicago Housing Authority
continued to voice opposition
to Alderman Arena’s plans.
One longtime resident of the
area predicted that “…people
are going to leave Jefferson
Park because that’s not what
we want.”163 JPNA President,
Bob Bank, took a more fatalist
stance: “Let’s not wreck this
great neighborhood.”164 On
September 2, 2016, Alderman
Alderman John Arena (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune)
Arena approved the zoning
changes required to build the vouchers with marketing
48-unit apartment complex.165 geared toward veterans and
The approved proposal people with disabilities.167
included 5 units set aside for The project was proposed
affordable housing.166 to Alderman Arena after
the development had been
On January 26, 2017, abandoned in the face of
Alderman Arena announced community opposition in

A May 16, 2016 community meeting regarding a proposed housing development near the Jefferson Park Transit
Center. (Heather Cherone/DNAinfo)
Case Study: The jefferson park transit corridor
Alderman Villegas’ 36th Ward.168 and we pay a lot of money to
In order for the project to move live here. There’s no reason we
forward, the site first required should have to pack all this
a zoning change that would Section 8 housing into one
allow for the construction of a building, right where we live.”172
storage facility. Other residents were more

Immediately after being

announced, the JPNA began
objecting to the rezoning
request, claiming the residents
of the property would invite
crime and lower property
values.169 JPNA President Bank
stated that “[e]veryone I talk to
is pretty upset about the idea
of stuffing all this low-income
housing into one building in
one neighborhood. I think it’s
just going to bring a bunch of Protesters rally against the proposed development at 5150 N. Northwest
desperate low-income families Highway on February 21, 2017, outside of Alderman John Arena’s office.
(Alex Nitkin/DNAinfo)
that are going to overcrowd our
schools and bring crime, and direct, asking the developer and
bring all their problems with Alderman Arena “[w]hat ability
them.”170 do you have, if any, to prevent
a renter from passing the
At a community meeting screening process, and then
held on the project on bringing in every miscreant
February 9, 2017, hundreds brother, uncle, cousin, son they
of Jefferson Park residents have? You can call us elitist
crowded into a neighborhood ... but I call us homeowners.
church and gathered on the I’ve lived here my whole life,
sidewalks outside to protest and if you think we’re going to
the proposal.171 Residents believe this building will only be
opposed to the development for retirees and veterans, then
continued to advance fears you’re crazy.”173 Alderman Arena
about residents with vouchers sought to get his constituents
living in the buildings: “This is to see past their biases: “The
a solid ward we’ve got here, folks who are low-income

Case Study: The jefferson park transit corridor
will buy sandwiches from housing.175 And that he, “felt
the deli, just like you do. They sorry for anyone who had to
have insurance, and they need live near public housing.”176
medical services, just like you
do. So I’m sorry, but it’s not After publicity surrounding
fair to judge someone who these events, the organized
makes less than you do, as if opposition instructed their
they spent no money.” Another followers to temper their
audience member asked if remarks in public.177 Public
the developer would “screen positions from then on
people under 18 years old?” concerned the height of the
When the developer stated that building, the density proposed
they could not screen children at the site, and the zoning
under 18, someone yelled process itself. Comments on
“there goes the neighborhood!” social media, and in testimony
After a white veteran testified before the Chicago City
in support of the affordable Council, however, continue to
housing project, an attendee express discriminatory animus
responded that “the community against the presumed residents
knows that the housing will not of the development: families
serve veterans like this.”174 with children and people of
Outside the meeting, protesters
chanted “No Section 8” and Contemporaneously with
“No CHA” and held signs the public backlash against
reading “No CHA—No Crime” the Northwest Highway
and “Jefferson Park not development, local residents,
Rogers Park” and “Cabrini alarmed by the vitriol, began
Green Started as Vet Housing.” to connect on social media,
Protesters shouted slurs such seeking to counteract the
as “faggot,” “thug,” “gangbanger,” negative stereotypes about
and “freeloader.” A protester affordable housing and to
claiming to be a Chicago police identify ways to advocate in
homicide detective said that favor of the proposal in their
“[t]hese people are like dirty community. These residents
diapers” - allegedly a reference made contact with the Chicago
to the predominately black Housing Initiative, a veteran
residents of Chicago’s public housing organizing group

Case Study: The jefferson park transit corridor
working on the ground in While the proposal passed the
Jefferson Park to try to support Chicago Plan Commission
the development. After the on March 16th, a week later
public meeting on February 9th, 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke
these neighbors came together stepped in to block its passage
as a group to advocate for in the zoning committee
affordable housing. based on a claimed procedural
defect (lack of quorum) that
These volunteers formed is routinely ignored during the
Neighbors for Affordable zoning process.179 The project
Housing in Jefferson Park was again stalled in April
(NfAH) which after a year of
grassroots organizing boasts
over 750 members. NfAH is
entirely run by volunteers, with
organizing guidance provided
by the Chicago Housing
Initiative and the Disability
Rights Action Coalition for
Housing, and is open to any
resident of the Northwest Side
of Chicago or stakeholder
(including persons with A flier urging Jefferson Park Residents to oppose the proposed affordable housing
project on 5150 N. Northwest Highway, on the grounds that the density and
disabilities, veterans, or anyone height of the proposed structure would “forever change the landscape and
in need of affordable housing). character” of the neighborhood. (obtained by the Chicago Housing Initiative)

In March 2017, the affordable 2017, when Alderman Arena

housing complex became a requested an unprecedented
city-wide issue, after a new zoning meeting where
group – Northwest Side Unite proponents and opponents
– emerged solely to oppose to the development could be
affordable housing and heard.180 The hearing lasted
organize against the Northwest more than three hours.
Highway development. NSU Opponents also filed a lawsuit
was able to pressure the city to against the city to stop the
convene a special meeting of rezoning.181
the Chicago Plan Commission
to discuss the Northwest Next, came a turn of events
Highway development.178 underscoring how the power

Case Study: The jefferson park transit corridor
of aldermanic prerogative community process Arena had
depends on the purpose for advanced, including multiple
which it is used. In May 2017, community meetings and a
Alderman Napolitano of the special meeting with the chair
41st ward took up the call of the Zoning Committee. It
of Northwest Side Unite by
representing their interests
in blocking the development.
Alderman Napolitano went so
far as to defend the protestors
outside the community
meeting and appear with NSU
leaders at a press conference
to denounce the proposal.182
Alderman Ricardo Munoz noted
how unusual Napolitano’s
attempts to interject himself
in another ward’s business
were, violating a longstanding
practice of deferring to the
decisions aldermen make
in their wards.183 Despite More than 100 protesters gathered outside the Branch Community Church in
Jefferson Park on February 9, 2017 to protest proposed affordable housing in
Alderman Napolitano’s Jefferson Park. (Ryne Poelker/Chicago Housing Initiative
opposition, the development
passed the city Planning also implicitly placed a higher
Commission and the full City value on the voices of residents
Council, with only Alderman who opposed affordable
Napolitano voting nay.184 housing over the residents
who supported it. Cook County
In late May 2017, Mayor Rahm Commissioner Jesus “Chuy”
Emanuel also weighed on the Garcia called out the Mayor for
controversy, criticizing Arena his comments, arguing that
for not having a process “as “Emanuel’s words, that anti-
one where you hear people and affordable housing activists
they need to be heard. As much ‘need to be heard’, functions as
as [Arena] is offering his idea, an acquittal of racial animus,
residents who live in that area masquerading as a white-
need to be heard.” Emanuel’s washed call for process.”185
comments ignored the lengthy Garcia also noted the Jefferson

Case Study: The jefferson park transit corridor
Park of the 1950s as compared including concerns over school
to today has changed: overcrowding.
Fifty-one years ago, around In early February 2018,
the same time that Martin Alderman Arena filed a
Luther King Jr. marched for complaint with the Civilian
open housing in Marquette Office of Police Accountability,
Park, a parallel march for open charging that 31 Chicago
housing occurred in Jefferson police officers made “racially
Park, equally met with bricks charged” comments regarding
and violence. What is different the 5150 proposal.188 The
today on the Northwest Side officers denied the claims.
is that amidst the resurgence However, housing advocates
of prejudice and hateful point to anti-5150 flyers on
energy by some factions in neighborhood police district
Jefferson Park, there is also an windows as evidence of the
energetic movement growing local police districts opposition
among anti-racist, largely to the development. In early
white, homeowners, who are March 2018, in response to a
as committed to opening their FOIA request, Mayor Emanuel’s
community to new neighbors, office released a spreadsheet
as others are to keeping it of individuals who had made
closed.186 racist comments about the
5150 proposal compiled by
Despite support from Alderman Alderman Arena’s staff, listing
Arena for the project, the 70 individuals, including the 31
Northwest Highway project police officers that Alderman
did not receive state nor Arena had filed a complaint
city low-income housing tax against.189 In April 2018, the
credits. On February 8, 2018, Fraternal Order of Police filed
Alderman Arena announced a complaint with the city
that Full Circle Communities Inspector General alleging that
would reduce the number of Alderman Arena was filing false
affordable housing units at the claims against city workers,
Northwest Highway project and that Alderman Arena was
from 100 to 75 and reduce the “cyberstalking” and harassing
number of family-sized units.187 Chicago police officers.190
Arena said that Full Circle Alderman Arena denied the
made the changes in response claims.
to “community feedback”

Case Study:
The Higgins Road Project
The proposed mixed-use rental the ZAC meeting, the developer,
property, Cumberland Place at Higgins Development, was
8535 W. Higgins Road in the asked “if the housing would
Jefferson Park community, be rental” and “how you would
highlights the many ways an accommodate families with
alderman can exert power kids?” The ZAC also asked that
to block affordable housing, the height of the residential
even when other structures building be reduced from 180
they have created support it. feet to 80 feet, pedestrian paths
Located near O’Hare Airport be added, and the setback
and adjacent to many hotels, increased on the residential
stores, and office parks, the building.193
project would have supplied
needed rental housing in this In December 2015, Higgins
job rich area.191 However, Development again went before
at each step in the process, the ZAC. During the meeting, it
Alderman Napolitano (41st was stated that the proposed
ward) found one way after 230-unit residential rental tower
another to block it. This would primarily include studio
exercise of parliamentary and one-bedroom units geared
prerogative presented towards young professionals.
a “whack-a-mole” type In response to ZAC’s requests,
challenge for the developer Higgins Development also
and supporters of affordable reduced the residential building
housing. to 80 feet, resulting in the loss
of 10 units,194 and added the
In 2015, Host Hotels & Resorts pedestrian paths and setback
filed a request for a zoning increase. Even though the
change with the City of project required no zoning
Chicago.192 In August 2015, change due to the Planned
the planned development Development Application,
proposal for a residential and ZAC voiced its support for
commercial development was the project and instructed
presented to the 41st ward Alderman Napolitano to send
Zoning Advisory Committee. At DPD a letter of support.

On January 20, 2016, Alderman results are likely to be lower
Napolitano sent a letter of than these overly conservative
support for the proposal to projections.” The study
DPD Commissioner David concluded that “[t]he impact
Reifman. In the letter, Alderman of both design, TOD location
Napolitano stated that the and immediate surrounding
“mixed-use nature of the site environments are likely to make
is highly complimentary to this a very successful TOD with
the adjacent hotel, conference a very low number of resident
center, and other surrounding students attending CPS
uses.”195 Napolitano also noted system.199 Similar low-impact
that the developer had made assessments were made
the changes requested by the concerning traffic density.200
41st Ward ZAC.
After hearing Glenstar present
Later that year, the property its proposal and findings in
went under contract for sale to December 2016,201 on January
Glenstar Properties.196 Glenstar 4, 2017, Alderman Napolitano’s
also proposed to construct ZAC unanimously approved
a mixed-use development, Glenstar’s proposal, a plan that
with 297 luxury rental “micro- included seven affordable units
units” in Jefferson Park.197 In and a payment of $2.9 million
November of 2016, the results in-lieu of putting 23 more
of two studies regarding the affordable units on site.202
potential impact of the project,
one on school overcrowding Alderman Napolitano’s position
and the other on traffic, were on the Higgins development
released. The school study starkly shifted after he
found that the development joined the ranks of the anti-
would have no impact on the affordable housing group,
local elementary school.198  The Northwest Side Unite. Once
study also noted that “[i]f the 41st ward constituents joined
on-site amenities are aimed the outrage against the 5150
at adults without children, and project, Alderman Napolitano
the marketing of the property began using every tactic
is similarly focused as were possible to block the Higgins
recent TOD and lifestyle development.203 Napolitano
projects within the Chicago informed the ZAC that he had
metro area, then the actual reversed his position on the

Higgins development, citing the that the developer could
opposition to the Northwest communicate with the
Highway development in an Alderman about his concerns.207
email to the ZAC chair.204 On July 7, 2017, the Glenstar
Alderman Napolitano also plan was approved, with only
attempted to discredit the one nay vote coming from
education and traffic report Alderman Tom Tunney who
by arguing that the addition of wished to respect Alderman
two more units to the building Napolitano’s authority, while
invalidated the study.205 Ahead Alderman Tunney also took
of the June 2017 meeting of the time to criticize the plan for
the Chicago Plan Commission, its lack of affordable housing
Alderman Napolitano options.208
triggered a 30-day delay while
simultaneously imploring for an Displeased with the outcome,
indefinite delay of the meeting Napolitano wrote e-mails to
for the Higgins development.206 Department of Planning and
The delay was granted at Development commissioners,
the request of Glenstar, not demanding to know why a vote
Alderman Napolitano, so had been held on the Higgins

building after he asked for it to of affordable housing units
be indefinitely deferred.209 from seven to 30, by essentially
In one response, DPD forgoing the previously planned
managing deputy in-lieu of fee under the ARO.213
commissioner, Patti Scudiero, At the meeting, Napolitano
reminded Napolitano that, per and Glen Star Properties
Chicago’s zoning ordinance, sparred over the proposal. At
only the developer had the right one point, in violation of the
to ask for a deferral in Plan Open Meetings Act, Zoning
Commission hearings.210 Committee Chair Danny Solis
(25th ward) called a recess
As the Higgins development of the hearing and invited
moved onto a September 2017 Napolitano and the committee
hearing before the city’s zoning to speak off the record behind
committee, Alderman
Napolitano continued to
obfuscate the plan. In
preparing for the zoning
committee meeting,
Alderman Napolitano’s
chief of staff coached the
Dirksen Elementary School
principal to write a letter
that would most effectively
derail the development.211

Napolitano also sought

to prevent the Higgins
building from being
considered before the
zoning committee with
the same “indefinite
deferral” request he
made before the Plan
Commission.212 This
time he was successful.
Shortly before the hearing,
Glenstar announced it
would increase the number


City Council chambers.214 as in deference to aldermanic

More than 10 minutes later, privilege.217 “Alderman Solis
the public meeting resumed greatly respects his colleagues
with Solis announcing that and the fact that they have
15th ward Alderman Raymond been chosen by the voters to
Lopez had a motion on this represent them,” he said in
item. Lopez moved to defer it. an e-mailed statement to the
All committee members voted Chicago Reader. “On matters of
in favor of deferral.215 Alderman zoning changes, the Chicago
Napolitano then lobbied Solis City Council has always
for an “indefinite deferral” of the given great deference to the
project proposal, meaning that Alderman of the ward where a
Glenstar would never receive a change is requested.”218
hearing and vote before
the city’s zoning committee In March 2018, GlenStar
before the Plan Commission’s Properties sued the City of
approval becomes null and Chicago for blocking the project
void.216 due to opposition to affordable
housing, arguing that the
In response to allegations that City’s “long ingrained custom
delaying a vote on the zoning of and practice of ‘Aldermanic
the project due to objections to prerogative’ for zoning matters”
affordable housing may violate is illegal and an unlawful
civil rights laws, a spokesman delegation of power.219
for Solis defended the action

Planning Against Prerogative: Towards
a Less Segregated Chicago
Irrefutable patterns of residential Over the same time period, the city has
segregation are kept in place by the tools lost 29,000 households that make less
of aldermanic prerogative wielded with than $100,000.225
the effect of blocking family affordable
housing. The resulting limitations on The social impact of this demographic
affordable housing disparately harm shift could be
black and Latinx households in need profound, as
of such housing and restrict access to Mary Pattillo, a “We need a citywide
housing opportunities. Northwestern
University transparent zoning
A recent report by the Institute for sociology
Research on Race and Public Policy, and African process that
concludes that Chicago’s racial and
ethnic inequities remain “pervasive,
advances racial
persistent, and consequential” due to professor, equity.”
failures to address widespread private, commented in
public, and entrenched institutional an article on —Housing Advocate
discrimination.220 This institutional the topic, “As
discrimination leads to what social blacks take (2018)
scientists refer to as the “poverty trap” flight, that shifts
which is perpetuated indefinitely when Chicago’s role nationally as a center of
local government is blind to, or willfully African American culture, one that gave
ignorant of, its critical role in designing rise to everything from the blues to the
and enacting interventions against first black president. It doesn’t mean
structural disadvantage.221 Perhaps it there won’t be black creativity or black
is no surprise then, that in the face of economic development, it’s just going
this willful ignorance, the city is losing to happen somewhere else.”226 When
residents—8,638 residents from 2015 individuals are left to languish in a trap
to 2016—and that these residents of poverty, when entire communities
are disproportionately black and are devalued, and when housing is not
disproportionately low- and moderate- provided at a range of affordability
income.222 Census data shows that levels and for a range of household
from 2000-2010 alone, Chicago lost types, reactionary outmigration is the
181,000 black residents.223 Since 1980, natural consequence. Until the city
Chicago has lost a full quarter of its provides an objective and centralized
black population.224 Moreover, economic system for approving affordable housing
trends further paint the picture of a city and creates a comprehensive plan for
in flux—with low- and moderate- income community investment that is grounded
residents moving out and higher income in achieving racial equity, the city
households moving in. Nearly 32,000 will remain segregated and will risk
households making over $100,000 extinguishing its vibrancy, its very core
moved into the city from 2010-2015. and constitution.

RECOMMENDATIONS should continue to work with such
neighborhood entities to meet local
Create a Citywide needs and preserve neighborhood
Comprehensive Plan ambience.”230 This sentiment
Despite its prominence as a world-class characterizes the development activity
city that heavily influenced the field over the next several decades and was
of urban planning, the City of Chicago codified within the principles for zoning
implements land-use policies without a reform enacted in 2004.231
comprehensive plan for development.
Principles for a comprehensive plan Today, what the city does plan and
were drafted in 1964 and 1981, and report is fragmented, segmented by
highlight the significant shifts in the issue area and continues to skirt issues
city’s philosophy of development— of segregation and NIMBYism that are at
moving from urban improvement to the core of “neighborhood preservation.”
neighborhood preservation—but a For example, the city develops plans
subsequent plan was not adopted. The based on HUD reporting requirements
1964 principles emphasize the core for the use of federal housing and
theme of ensuring that Chicago is a community development funds. In
“city for all people,” which, according addition, for the last 20 years, the City
to the principles means: “The city of Chicago has drafted and adopted
must insure a wide range of housing in a 5-year housing plan. Notably, this
different kinds of neighborhoods and plan does not address issues related to
at different densities. It must insure residential segregation nor racial equity.
that there is the broadest possible Finally, the city creates plans targeting
choice of housing costs and type to other issues such as homelessness,
meet the needs of different families of health, transportation, and economic
different incomes.”228 It touches on the development.
need to foster “harmonious, stabilized
neighborhoods attractive to families of
all races” to bring about a better racial Comprehensive Plan:
balance.229 Also within the 1964 policies A long-term plan to guide
were undertones of “urban renewal”
language centered on eliminating
community development
substandard housing and blight. As and land-use decisions
mentioned, this plan was never adopted, related to residential,
the remediation of blight was carried commercial, transportation,
out with no assurances for stabilization parks and open space.227
and the promotion of housing choice to
counterbalance the housing instability of
those living within blighted areas.
These individual and issue-specific
The 1981 principles demonstrate plans fail to connect housing and
a core shift in philosophy with a community development issues together
greater emphasis on neighborhood and adequately assess the landscape
preservation: “Most people choose of racial and economic segregation,
to live in communities where others the mechanisms that fuel present-day
share their basic lifestyle. This has manifestations of segregation, and the
resulted in neighborhoods that house consequential social-ills that stem from
people steeped in the same traditions… it. Without this level of analysis and
this means that the city government planning, Chicago continues to

develop on an ad hoc basis, without comprehensive housing plan component.
consideration given to overall effect
on either the supply of housing or the This housing plan should form the basis
impact on segregation, allowing hyper- for HUD reporting and include all of
local influence to shape Chicago’s the required components mandated
neighborhoods to the detriment of the therein including an identification of
city as a whole. impediments to fair housing expressly
stating that aldermanic prerogative is
The city must therefore streamline indeed an impediment to affirmatively
housing and community development furthering fair housing. The
planning by producing a central comprehensive plan should be updated
comprehensive plan that assesses every 5 years and the Bureau of Housing
citywide community development will be charged with creating an annual
and affordable housing needs and report measuring performance against
barriers, identifies where affordable the plan goals for equitable distribution
housing is lacking, where other types funding and unit construction.
of investments—such as infrastructure
improvements—are lacking, and creates Implement a Racial Equity
measureable goals and benchmarks Impact Assessment as a Central
for meeting community development Component of Citywide Planning
and affordable housing need. This and Housing Decision Making
plan should include analysis of past In acknowledgement that racial
and existing subsidized affordable inequities are borne out of systematic,
housing units that can be updated institutionalized racism perpetuated
quarterly with tabulation indicating through public policy, Racial Equity
neighborhood distribution. The Impact Assessments provide a systematic
plan should include benchmarks for examination of the racial impacts of
the equitable distribution of future proposed decisions before any harm can
subsidized affordable housing units be done. Similar to an Environmental
including subsidies (LIHTC, HOME, ESG, Impact Report, such assessments are
TIF, LIHTF, etc.) geographically. This used to proactively identify unintended
plan must address issues of segregation consequences and influence proposed
and inequities in community investment decisions to mitigate adverse outcomes.
that underpin racial disparities in access Otherwise, when racial equity is not
to opportunity and serve as a policy consciously addressed, “racial inequality
plan that guides decision-making and is often unconsciously replicated.”232
funding. There are several cities that have taken
steps to implement Racial Equity Impact
Further, the plan must be created with
Assessments in various fashions in the
support structures to assist its execution
public policy sphere. This protocol
and address the issues raised in this
was developed in Seattle, Washington
document. The deputy commissioner
and has now been implemented in
in charge of housing should be made
over 125 jurisdictions nationwide and
an ex oficio member of the Chicago
codified within local ordinances in areas
Zoning Board of Appeals, the Chicago
such as King County in Washington,
Plan Commission and the Chicago City
Minneapolis, Minnesota, Madison,
Council Zoning Committee in order
Wisconsin, and Portland, Oregon.233
to ensure planned developments,
zoning map amendments, and special Although consideration should be given
use decisions are consistent with the to implementing Racial Equity Impact

Assessment at a broader level in the consistent with the city’s comprehensive
City of Chicago, for the purposes of this plan.
report, it is recommended that Racial
Equity Impact Assessments be employed The city’s zoning administrator must
as a requirement of comprehensive be tasked with bringing a greater level
planning and as a component of the of fairness and racial equity to zoning
centralization of zoning. Advancing and land-use review. In cities that have
racial equity should be a guiding adopted this model, political influence
principle of comprehensive planning has been reduced, zoning corruption
and of zoning review processes, with a has been curtailed, and individual
diverse array of community stakeholders zoning and land-use decisions have
involved throughout the process, been better aligned with local planning
including data gathering, goal and documents.234
benchmark setting, and evaluation. All
of the identified benefits and burdens Transparency and Accountability
imposed by the proposed goals should To bring about greater transparency
be assessed through a racial equity lens. and accountability to the housing
Accountability and transparency should development review process, the city
be a central component of the decision- should establish uniform proposal and
making process. approval processes, with mandated
timelines, for affordable housing
Centralization of Zoning development applications that is not
Decisions over municipal zoning are infringed by ward-specific barriers
considered a police power of local and rules. The application process
legislative bodies in Illinois. This means should place a favorable emphasis
that the power over zoning cannot be on projects that further the goals of
completely removed from the Chicago the comprehensive plan, bring about
City Council. However, the city’s policy more balanced affordable housing, and
and practice of delegating zoning enhance racial equity. The city should
decisions to individual aldermen, and also establish an open and uniform
in turn, many aldermen delegating policy for the transfer, sale, and donation
that power to ZACs, is an unauthorized of city-owned lots that adheres to the
exercise of that zoning power. comprehensive plan. Finally, the city
should establish an open and uniform
The city must revise its zoning ordinance policy for TIF project financing with
to prohibit ward level control over required justifications for the ways in
zoning. The zoning ordinance must which each proposed project will further
also be amended to be consistent with the goals of the comprehensive plan.
a comprehensive plan grounded in
advancing racial equity, meaning that Financing
each zoning decision is evaluated as to To eliminate the impact of aldermanic
whether or not it advances the city’s prerogative on the affordable housing
commitment to racial equity. The zoning development process, the city must
ordinance must remove all references remove the required evidence of
to “preserving the character of existing aldermanic/community support and
neighborhoods,” which only serves to letter of aldermanic support requirement
maintain residential segregation. The from the Multi-Family Loan Program,
City Council’s decisions over zoning must Qualified Allocation Plan, and any
be guided by a limited set of criteria internal city procedures related to the
evaluating if the zoning request is review of affordable housing applications

for public financing. from blocking or stalling affordable
Rather than obligate developers to housing developments, as long as
secure aldermanic support, the city those developments align with the
could require applicants to certify that comprehensive plan and meet other
their proposed request for financing is specifications. Aldermen could still
consistent with the city’s comprehensive retain the power to impose certain
plan. If an alderman opposes a project, requirements on developers and
they could submit comments based upon influence the overall developments, but
a set of specific and limited reasons. if there is a need for affordable housing
Such reasons might include the proposed in the ward, the aldermen would not be
project perpetuating segregation or able to block or delay the deal.
being located in a flood plain. In this
manner, local officials would be required ARO Recommendations
to make public the reasons for their To create more balanced affordable
opposition and those reasons must be housing options for low-income
factual and clearly related to rational families, the ARO should include deeper
interests in the “sticks and bricks” of incentives for larger units and the
the project, and not the demographics prioritization of deeply-affordable units.
of the residents of the proposed The city should remove ward controlled
project. Moreover, the opposition must influence over the ARO, such as the use
be consistent with treatment of non- of ZACS to dictate the inclusion of on-
affordable housing plans. Any selective site units, and the type of units made
opposition by an alderman would not be available.
considered legitimate.
City-owned Lots
The City’s financing decisions utilizing To further balance affordable housing
public funds must also align with development the city could prioritize
the goals of the comprehensive plan. the donation of city-owned lots in
The City should incorporate AFFH predominantly white, low-poverty
requirements into the Multi-Family Loan areas to non-profit affordable housing
Program, such as issuing guidance on developers. 324 parcels of city-owned
how target population or development lots with a total area of 2,413,660 square
characteristics count for or against the feet fall within low-poverty areas. If all
development during the review process, of these parcels were developed with
and prioritizing the development of new, multifamily housing, the supply of
multi-family affordable housing in low- affordable housing in opportunity areas
poverty areas. would nearly double.

Actively Discourage NIMBYism Education

The city could also consider adapting The City of Chicago should incorporate
Anti-NIMBY laws enacted in states mandatory annual AFFH and racial
such as California235 to the municipal equity training for city employees
context. Such an ordinance could bar involved in housing and community
aldermen and/or their constituents development programs.

Appendix A:
INTERVIEWS the following decades and underlying
parcels with reductions in the zoning
This report was informed by the classification were flagged with the pre
experiences of housing advocates, and post zoning classification for each
affordable housing developers, and interval. As such, the area calculations
former public officials who provided given represent the sum of parcel areas
input and guidance through interviews and do not include right of ways or other
carried out from December 2017 area included in the zoning district’s
through May 2018. total area.

Current zoning data were obtained from

QUANTITATIVE DATA Chicago’s GIS system.237
Landmarks and landmark district data
This study analyses the location of were obtained from Chicago’s GIS
affordable housing in Chicago, exploring system.238
the demographic and economic
characteristics of neighborhoods selected SPATIAL DATA OF
for affordable housing development in SUBSIDIZED AFFORDABLE
context of the physical, political, and
regulatory constraints on developing
housing in the city. These factors To prepare the evaluation of Chicago’s
contribute to the creation of segregated affordable housing inventory and
spaces. This Appendix provides programs, the location, funding, and
context for the aggregated sources other characteristics of developments
of affordable housing information, were collected from various sources and
the characterization and grouping of assembled into a single database. The
neighborhoods according to racial and database was designed to hold building
economic characteristics, and additional level records of every subsidized housing
information regarding analysis of the project identified in the city of Chicago,
multifamily programs and others. making assessments accurate down to
Analysis and data management was the census block or block group level in
performed using Python, PostgreSQL, the event of multi building projects. The
and QGIS. Graphics and design were level of accuracy allows for correctly
completed with Adobe InDesign and identifying wards and identifying
Illustrator. placement of buildings in limited pockets
of segregation or poverty that might
DOWNZONING AND otherwise not be visible.
The primary source of information for
The 1970 to 2016 downzoning data the city’s affordable housing projects
base was generated through digitization from 1994 to 2017 was the Affordable
and comparison of zoning maps in Housing Quarterly reports. The
the city at decade intervals by Okrent reports offer a summary of all projects
Kisiel Associates.236 Each zoning map
selected to receive city financing over
was compared against the maps from

the previous quarter. For the period represent the city’s best chance to place
between 2009 and 2017, the quarterly units in areas outside of high poverty
reports were retrieved from Chicago’s and racial segregation. Senior housing
website.239 Quarterly reports prior to was chosen as a counterpoint as the
2009 were obtained from a FOIA request distribution of projects is significantly
to the city’s Department of Planning different despite sharing the same
and Development. The quarterly reports application process and funding sources.
contain much of the information
required, but do not always reflect TIF projects were obtained from the
the final state of the project: financing Chicago’s GIS system.243 Classification of
sources can change between quarterly these projects was performed to address
report publication and loan closing, as the use of TIF funds as housing or not
can the configurations of some buildings. housing related, and to identify the
targeted population of housing projects.
City led projects prior to 1994 were
identified through the Cook County ARO projects were obtained from the
Journal of Proceedings records, from the City’s quarterly reports. If a project had
reports of the Committee on Housing multiple revisions with changes in the
and on Finance. Financing information units or fees associated with the project,
for all projects was cross referenced with the most recent changes prevail, and
the Journal of Proceedings. Additional prior versions were stricken from the
FOIA requests to the city for Loan data set.
Closing documents and various internal
databases maintained by the city of The city-owned land inventory data was
Chicago’s Department of Planning and obtained from the city’s Data Portal.244
Development to track ongoing projects Missing locations were corrected with
were made to further complete missing the Cook County Assessor’s Office parcel
information. data. Parcel area was compared to the
minimum lot area of the associated
Additional information on projects, zoning to create a rough estimate of
including housing not funded by the total developable units, barring
the city directly was pulled from the additional limitations from parking.
HUD Multifamily Insured Properties
databases, HUD Multifamily Portfolio RACIAL/ECONOMIC
database.240 241 242
Demographic breaks on the maps in
Project location, confirmation of the document were selected at 25%
ownership information, and additional Non-Hispanic White for race and
data were obtained from the City’s ethnicity and 40% of the population
buildings database, the Cook County below the poverty line. While this
Assessor’s Office parcel and address level is substantially above a simple
points files, and the Cook County racial majority (>50%) for block
Recorder of Deeds. If buildings had been groups, Chicago is so segregated
torn down, outlines and location were that the majority in practice does not
recreated through historic aerials. significantly increase the total count
of block groups in the analysis. The
New construction family housing
40% poverty threshold was selected as
projects were selected as the level of
it is a commonly used break point for
analysis as they carry the highest level
determining high poverty areas.245
of scrutiny under AFFH regulations and

Over time, relative proportions of census ward boundaries. As ward boundaries
block groups <25% non-Hispanic are unstable, project information was
white or >40% poverty are stable, aggregated to the active boundaries
only significantly expanding along the during the time of council approval for
southwestern and north western corridor analysis.
of the city where the Latinx population
has grown. The Milwaukee avenue Ward boundaries were obtained and
corridor and far north of the city have digitized for 1940, 1986, 1992, 1996,
transitioned to >25% non-Hispanic 2003, and 2015. Classification of
white population due to advancing the wards as majority non-Hispanic
gentrification. In 1990, 48% of the city’s white/non-white is based on the 2000
block groups were >25% non-Hispanic and 2010 Census data used for the
white and <40% poverty, and in 2016 redistricting. The second ward presents
46% of the block groups are. 25% non- a special case due to its changing
Hispanic white represents roughly the location (from the south to the north
median block group concentration of side) and is treated as separate wards
that population for the 2012-2016 ACS between its 2003 and 2015 boundaries
5 Year Estimates (20.3%) and very few as it has no overlapping boundaries and
high poverty tracts are also not <25% the demographic changes significantly.
non-Hispanic white, hence the roughly No other ward has had as significant
equal division of the city by area. changes and most share relatively
consistent boundaries and population
For cross period analysis with census classifications according to the white and
data, areal area weighted interpolation non-white binary split.
was performed at the tract level as
described in Logan et. al. (2014) with Relative shares for each ward of housing
a Python implementation written by and zoning were compared against the
Okrent Kisiel Associates.246 ward level shares of demographics to
explore differences in the distributions
Census data for the preceding Census and other associations between the
(i.e. 1990 is used for all years 1990- variables. Further measures of inequality
1999) was used to identify the in housing siting were explored to
proportion of non-Hispanic white test departures from placement under
population and proportion of the the expectations of equal or random
population under the poverty level at distribution.
the block group in which the building is
located. This allows the study to analyze
the placement of subsidized affordable
housing developments against the
backdrop of what the city knew at the
time of approval.

Given the role of aldermen in dictating
the site selection of affordable housing
units, concentrations of affordable
housing are measured in context of

Appendix B
Ward-by-Ward Zoning Advisory Councils and Development Process
Information pulled from 2010 Census Block-Level Redistricting Data, ward websites, personal
communication via phone and email with ward staff, LinkedIn profiles, and newspaper archives
Demographics Geographic Associated of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant Ward-Level
Ward Alderman
of Ward1 Area neighborhoods (informal2 community organizations Developer Checklist
or formal3)
1 Joe Moreno White: 45.12 % Yes, extensive
Black: 7.02% Wicker Park, West Town,
Yes – Wicker Park Preservation and application with
North side Ukrainian Village, Logan
Latinx4: 43.11% formal Development Committee guidelines and
Asian: 3.76% checklist required5
2 Brian Hopkins White: 76.51% Lincoln Park, Wicker Yes, extensive
Black: 6% Park, Ukrainian Village, application with
North side No N/A
Latinx: 9.36% Gold Coast, Old Town, guidelines and
Asian: 7.33% Bucktown checklist required
3 Pat Dowell White: 22.42%
Black: 64.62% Hyde Park, Bronzeville,
South side No N/A No
Latinx: 3.72% Fuller Park
Asian: 8%
4 Sophia King White: 22.75%
Black: 63.75% Museum Campus,
Yes – North Kenwood-Oakland
Latinx: 3.68% South side Kenwood, Lakefront from No
informal Conservation Community Council
Grant Park to Hyde Park
Asian: 8.28%

5 Leslie Hairston White: 23.3% Indian Village, Hyde Park,

Black: 64.3% Jackson Park, South
South side No N/A No
Latinx: 3.72% Shore, Greater Grand
Asian: 7.23% Crossing
6 Roderick T. White: 0.43%
Sawyer Black: 97.54%
South side Chatham and Englewood No N/A No
Latinx: 1.02%
Asian: 0.06%

Demographics Geographic Associated of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant Ward-Level Developer
Ward Alderman
of Ward1 Area neighborhoods (informal2 community organizations Checklist
or formal3)
7 Greg Mitchell White: 1.51%
Black: 92.06% Calumet Heights, Pill Hill,
South side South Chicago, South No N/A No
Latinx: 4.98% Deering, South Shore
Asian: 0.19%
8 Michelle Harris White: 0.56% Avalon Park, Burnside,
Black: 96.9% Calumet Heights,
South side No N/A No
Latinx: 1.34% Chatham, South Shore,
Asian: 0.15% Greater Grand Crossing
9 Anthony Beale 1. Greater Roseland Chamber
White: 1.46% of Commerce
Black: 93.32% Pullman, Roseland,
Yes – 2. Calumet Area Industrial
South side Burnside, Altgeld No
Latinx: 4.22% informal Commission
Gardens, West Pullman
Asian: 0.07% 3. Chatham Business
10 Susan Sadlowski White: 17.77% South Chicago, East
Garza Black: 18.02% Side, South Deering,
South side No N/A No
Latinx: 63.23% Calumet Heights,
Asian: 0.38% Hegewisch, Arizona
11 Patrick D. White: 37.3%
Thompson Black: 4.77% Bridgeport, Armour
South side Square, McKinley Park, No N/A No
Latinx: 23.08% Fuller Park, New City
Asian: 34.05%
12 George White: 8.65%
Cardenas Black: 2.17% McKinley Park, Brighton
South side No N/A No
Latinx: 81.51% Park, Little Village
Asian: 7.25%
13 Marty Quinn White: 33.11%
Black: 1.84% West Lawn, Clearing,
South side West Elsdon, Garfield No N/A No
Latinx: 63.77% Ridge
Asian: 0.86%
14 Edwards Burke White: 16.87%
Black: 1.5% Garfield Ridge, Archer
South side No N/A No
Latinx: 79.89% Heights, Brighton Park
Asian: 1.47%

Demographics Geographic Associated of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant Ward-Level Developer
Ward Alderman
of Ward1 Area neighborhoods (informal2 community organizations Checklist
or formal3)
15 Raymond Lopez White: 4.74% Brighton Park, Gage The Business Licensing and
Black: 22.27% Park, Canaryville, West Zoning meeting takes place
Southwest Yes –
Latinx: 71.6% Englewood, Back of every first Monday – all business No
side informal
the Yards owners in the 15th ward are invited
Asian: 0.98% to attend and participate
16 Toni Foulkes White: 1.4% Englewood, Gage
Black: 68.50% Southwest Park, West Englewood,
Chicago Lawn No N/A No
Latinx: 29.2% side
Asian: 0.18%
17 David Moore White: 2.19% Chicago Lawn,
Black: 81.15% Marquette Park,
Latinx: 15.78% Gresham, Auburn No N/A No
Gresham, West
Asian: 0.22% Englewood
18 Derrick Curtis White: 12.67% Ashburn, Marquette
Black: 54.67% Southwest Park, Auburb Gresham
No N/A No
Latinx: 31.18% side
Asian: 0.78%
19 Matthew O’Shea White: 67.14% Beverly, Mount Yes, extensive
Black: 25.83% Southwest Greenwood, Morgan Yes – application with
Park, Washington 19 Ward Zoning Advisory Board
Latinx: 5.41% side formal guidelines and
Heights checklist required
Asian: 0.83%
20 Willie B. Cochran White: 3.86% Back of the Yards,
Black: 79.44% Southwest Canaryville,
Washington Park, No N/A No
Latinx: 14.28% side
Asian: 1.42%
21 Howard Brookins White: 0.29% Auburn Gresham,
Jr. Black: 98.01% Washington Heights,
South side Gresham, Chatham, No N/A No
Latinx: 0.91%
Asian: 0.04%
22 Ricardo Munoz White: 3.96% Little Village, South
Black: 8.29% Lawndale, Archer
West side Heights No N/A No
Latinx: 87.07%
Asian: 0.37%

Demographics Geographic of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant Ward-Level Developer
Ward Alderman Associated neighborhoods
of Ward1 Area (informal2 community organizations Checklist
or formal3)
23 Michael Zalewski White: 29.61% West Elsdon, West Lawn,
Black: 2.59% Garfield Ridge, Clearing
West side No N/A No
Latinx: 66.67%
Asian: 0.75%
24 Michael Scott Jr. White: 3.98% North Lawndale, Douglas
Black: 85.72% Park, Little Village
West side No N/A No
Latinx: 9.55%
Asian: 0.23%
25 Daniel Solis White: 19.93% Lower West Side, Pilsen,
Black: 9% Greektown, Chinatown, Uni- Yes, extensive applica-
Southwest Yes – for-
versity Village/Little Italy Pilsen Land Use Committee tion with guidelines and
Latinx: 56.23% side mal
checklist required
Asian: 14.21%
26 Roberto Maldo- White: 19.56% Humboldt Park, Hermosa,
nado Black: 12.7% Northwest Ukrainian Village, Logan
Square No N/A No
Latinx: 65.8% side
Asian: 1.3%
27 Walter Burnett, Jr. White: 25.18% East Garfield Park, Hum-
Black: 59.89% boldt Park, Near West Side,
Northwest Yes – infor- Eckhart Park Community
Latinx: 10.10% Illinois Medical District, No
side mal Council
Greektown, United Center
Asian: 3.77% Park, Near North Side
28 Jason Ervin White: 11.65% West Garfield Park, East
Black: 75.65% Garfield Park, Austin, Doug-
Latinx: 6.74% las Park, Illinois Medical No N/A No
District, University Village/
Asian: 5.11% Little Italy
29 Chris Taliaferro Austin, Montclare, Bel- 1. 29th Ward North Avenue
White: 15.61% mont-Cragin Business Development
Black: 69.17% Northwest Yes – for- Committee
Latinx: 13.14% side mal 2. Galewood Business
Asian: 1.31% Development Committee
(newly formed in 2017)
30 Ariel Reboyras White: 28.02% Belmont-Cragin, Portage
Black: 2.31% Northwest Park, Irving Park
No N/A No
Latinx: 65.54% side
Asian: 3.36%

Demographics Geographic Associated of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant Ward-Level Developer
Ward Alderman
of Ward1 Area neighborhoods (informal2 community organizations Checklist
or formal3)
31 Milly Santiago White: 18.96%
Black: 2.49% Northwest Hermosa, Belmont-
No N/A No
Latinx: 75.88% side Cragin, Logan Square
Asian: 2.06%
32 Scott White: 72.55% Wicker Park, Logan
Waguespack Black: 3.02% Yes, extensive applica-
Square, Bucktown,
North side No N/A tion with guidelines and
Latinx: 18.11% Lincoln Park, Roscoe
checklist required
Asian: 5.52% Village
33 Deb Mell White: 32.3%
Black: 3.9% Albany Park, Irving Park, Yes – infor- Avondale Neighborhood
North side No
Latinx: 52.9% Avondale mal Association
Asian: 9.64%
34 Carrie Austin White: 0.53%
Black: 97.27% West Pullman,
Washington Heights, No N/A No
Latinx: 1.29% side
Morgan Park, Roseland
Asian: 0.08%
35 Carlos
Ramirez-Rosa 1. Logan Square Preservation
White: 19.64%
Black: 4.69% Albany Park, Irving Park, 2. Logan Square Yes, extensive applica-
Southwest Yes - infor-
Avondale, Logan Square, Neighborhood Association tion with guidelines and
Latinx: 69.31% side mal
Hermosa checklist required
Asian: 5.42% 3. We Are/Somos Logan

36 Gilbert Villegas White: 26.28%

Black: 3.55% Montclare, Portage
Park, Belmont-Cragin, No N/A No
Latinx: 66.64% side
Asian: 2.92%
37 Emma Mitts White: 1.46%
Black: 79.38% Northwest Yes – infor- West Humboldt Development
Austin, Humboldt Park No
Latinx: 18.15% side mal Council
Asian: 0.38%
38 Nicholas White: 69.20%
Sposato Black: 1.04% Northwest
Portage Park, Dunning No N/A No
Latinx: 24.43% side
Asian: 4.65%

Demographics Geographic Associated of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant Ward-Level
Ward Alderman
of Ward1 Area neighborhoods (informal2 community organizations Developer Checklist
or formal3)
39 Margaret Laurino White: 53.92%
Black: 3.04% Northwest North Park, Jefferson
No N/A No
Latinx: 23.46% side Park, Albany Park
Asian: 17.97%
40 Pat O’Connor White: 50.86%
Black: 7.34% Lincoln Square,
North side No N/A No
Latinx: 23.95% Edgewater, West Ridge
Asian: 16.81%
41 Anthony White: 82.34% Yes, extensive
Napolitano Black: 1.19% Northwest Edison Park, Edgebrook, Yes – 41st Ward Zoning Advisory application with
Latinx: 9.99% side Norwood Park, O’Hare formal Committee guidelines and
Asian: 5.82% checklist required
42 Brendan Reilly White: 69.46%
Black: 5.57% The Loop, Streeterville,
Yes –
North side Near North Side, River North Residents Association No
Latinx: 5.79% informal
Asian: 18.10%
43 Michele Smith White: 84.82% Yes – 1. Diversey Harbor Lakeview
Black: 3.41% informal Association
Latinx: 4.81% 2. Gold Coast Neighbors
Asian: 6.15%
3. Lincoln Central Association
4. Mid-North Association
5. Old Town Merchants and
Residents Association
6. Old Town Triangle Association
7. Park West Community
North side Lincoln Park, Old Town Association
8. RANCH Triangle
9. Sheffield Neighborhood
10. South of North Avenue
11. Wrightwood Neighbors

Demographics Geographic Associated of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant Ward-Level Developer
Ward Alderman
of Ward1 Area neighborhoods (informal2 community organizations Checklist
or formal3)
44 Tom Tunney White: 82.57%
Black: 3.22% Yes, extensive application
Yes – Community Directed
North side Lakeview with guidelines and
Latinx: 6.36% formal Development Council
checklist required
Asian: 6.99%
45 John Arena White: 64.34%
Old Irving Park,
Black: 1.88% Yes, extensive application
Northwest Portage Park, Yes –
Ward Advisory Committee with guidelines and
Latinx: 24.54% side Jefferson Park, formal
checklist required
Norwood Park
Asian: 8.23%
46 James White: 57.24%
Black: 20.28% Yes, extensive application
Uptown, Buena Park, Yes – 46th Ward Zoning and
North side with guidelines and
Latinx: 11.51% Lakeview formal Development Committee
checklist required
Asian: 9.54%
47 Ameya Pawar White: 74.76%
Black: 3.07% North Center, Roscoe Yes, extensive application
Yes – 47th Ward Zoning Advisory
North side Village, Lincoln with guidelines and
Latinx: 13.98% formal Committee
Square, Uptown checklist required
Asian: 7.17%
48 Harry Osterman White: 53.86%
Over 20 block clubs and
Black: 16.75% Edgewater, Yes – chambers of commerce Yes, extensive application
North side
Latinx: 13.88% Andersonville, Uptown informal can be involved in zoning with guidelines required
Asian: 13.95%

Demographics Geographic Associated of a ZAC Name of ZAC and/or relevant community
Ward Alderman Developer
of Ward1 Area neighborhoods (informal2 organizations
or formal3)
49 Joe Moore 49th Ward Zoning Committee
Dorothy Gregory – profession unknown
but noted advocate of the selling of public
land to Loyola University
Vernandez Jones - Youth counselor at
Howard Area Community Center
Joe Maschek - Landscape Architect
Richard Moran – Self-employed
White: 38.81% accountant and board member of Yes, extensive
Black: 27.63% Yes - Northside Community Resources application with
North side Rogers Park
Latinx: 24.07% formal guidelines and
Cynthia Ryan – Economic Development checklist required
Asian: 7.5% Manager at Rogers Park Business Alliance
Jonathan Rivera – Real estate developer
and Director at Capright
Mike Glasser – President and owner
of Magellan Properties, President of
Northside Community Development
Corporation, President of the Rogers Park
Builders Group (has been sued twice by
HOPE Fair Housing Center for fair housing
50 Debra Silverstein White: 45.17% N/A
Black: 10.6%
North side West Rogers Park No No
Latinx: 18.87%
Asian: 23.68%
1 Data is sourced from the 2010 Census Block-Level Redistricting Data
2 “Informal ZAC” is defined as a committee assembled at the behest of aldermen, typically comprised of various neighborhood councils, chambers of commerce, and/or
residents perceived as having particular “expertise” on zoning and development. These ZACs are most often assembled “ad hoc” for specific development or zoning change
proposals when aldermen have decided to seek outside input.
3 “Formal ZAC” is defined as a fixed assemblage of residents who meet routinely and are most often appointed to their positions by aldermen. They often have formal decision-
making power over a development or zoning change proposal.
4 2010 Census Data uses the category “Hispanic” which we have re-categorized as “Latinx”
5 For those wards that do have extensive guidelines and checklists required for proposals, the full extent of these guidelines is typically found on the wards’ website.

City of Chi. Dep’t. of City Planning, Comprehensive Plan Goals and Policies (1981).
Faisal Khan & Kelly Tarrant, How a Chicago alderman has used zoning law and political strong-arming to control
private businesses, PROJECT SIX GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY TASK FORCE (May 16, 2017), https://these-
Maya Dukmasova, How’s Chicago supposed to desegregate when developments with affordable housing can be
blocked by aldermen on a whim? CHI. READER, (Jan. 5, 2018), https://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/ar-
Alex Keefe, Pregnancy Tests? Pigeon Poo? What Chicago Aldermen Really Do, WBEZ NEWS (June 11, 2013),
This report focuses on the three most predominant racial and ethnic groups in Chicago. Authors acknowledge the
need to assess impacts on other racial and ethnic groups represented in Chicago.
Elliott Ramos, Interactive: City Council-approved Chicago Ward Map, WBEZ News (Jan. 19, 2012), https://www.
Great Migration, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHICAGO (2004), http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/545.
Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated 77-91 (2017).
Id., at 143- 146.
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (“the Fair Housing Act”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., as amended by the
Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.
John C. Austin, Segregation and changing populations shape Rust Belt’s politics, THE BROOKINGS INST. (Sept. 14,
2017), https://www.brookings.edu/blog/theavenue/2017/09/14/segregation-and-changing-populations-shape-re-
U.S. DEP’T OF HOU. AND URBAN DEV., Worst Case Housing Needs: 2017 Report to Congress, (2017), https://
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 amended the original FHA, to include sex, disability, and familial
status among the protected classes. 42 U.S.C. §3601 et seq (2012).
United States ex. rel. Anti-Discrimination Ctr., Inc. v. Westchester Cty., 495 F. Supp. 2d 375, 384 (S.D.N.Y. 2007).
United States v. Starrett City Assoc., 840 F.2d 1096, 1100 (2d Cir. 1988); see generally Arlington Heights v. Metro.
Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252 (1977) (superseded on other grounds, 42 U.S.C. § 1973(b)(1982).)
Westchester Cty., 495 F. Supp. 2d at 385 (quoting Otero v. New York City Hous. Authority, 484 F.2d 1122, 1134 (2d
Cir. 1973).)
Inst. for Research on Race and Public Policy, A Tale of Three Cities: The State of Racial Justice in Chicago (2017),
City of Chicago Consolidated Plan, 2010-2014, 19-20, https://web.archive.org/web/20151017100751/
What is a NIMBY?, NIMBY WARS, http://nimbywars.com/what-is-a-nimby.
A Tale of Three Cities, supra note 9.
The City of Chicago, Bouncing Back: Five Year Housing Plan, 2014-2018.
A Tale of Three Cities, supra note 9.
Metro. Planning Council, The Cost of Segregation, 4 -8 (2017), http://www.metroplanning.org/uploads/cms/doc-
Thomas J. Gradel & Dick Simpson, Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality in Chicago Government Agencies (2011);
In April 2017, the Office of Inspector General released a report of its audit of the city’s Department of Transporta-
tion’s Aldermanic Menu program, whereby the city gives each alderman control of $1.32 million annually to fund
residential infrastructure projects in their ward, including street and alley resurfacing, street lighting, speed humps,
and sidewalk replacement. The audit demonstrated that aldermanic control of these funds has resulted in imbal-
anced investments across the city, because funding is not based on need. The report also noted abuses of alder-

manic power: “We also found that in the years 2012 through 2015, the city allowed aldermen to designate $15.1
million of Menu funds for projects unrelated to core residential infrastructure improvements. ... Furthermore, in
2014, the city permitted aldermen to spend Menu funds on projects located outside of the wards they represented
at the time and within their yet-to-be-effectuated future ward boundaries.” The audit noted that “[t]hese findings
are deeply troubling and point to serious systemic issues in the city’s residential infrastructure planning which
disproportionately affect certain parts of the city.” Chicago Office of the Inspector General, CDOT Aldermanic Menu
Program Audit (Apr. 20, 2017).
Maya Dukmasova, Aldermen’s absolute veto power over ward projects gets unlikely court challenge, CHI. READER,
(Apr. 16, 2018), https://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2018/04/16/aldermens-absoluteveto-pow-
er-over-ward-projects-gets-unlikely-court-challenge; Marisa Novara, When Local Control Goes Wrong, METRO.
PLANNING COUNCIL (Apr. 3, 2018), http://www.metroplanning.org/news/8552/When-Local-Control-Goes-
Cohen & Taylor, supra note 17, at 70.
Adam Cohen & Elizabeth Taylor, American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation
70 (2001).
Rothstein, supra note 5, at 20.
Cohen & Taylor, supra note 17, at 77.
Id., at 79.
Id., at 76-77.
Id, at 86.
The Public Housing Administration (PHA) was a branch of the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA), cre-
ated in July 1947. PHA was the federal agency responsible for administering federally-assisted affordable housing.
Its responsibilities were superseded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in September
Cohen & Taylor, supra note 17, at 86; While the City Council tightened their control over the siting of public
housing in order to maintain residential segregation, Urban Renewal took hold in Chicago. Urban Renewal was a
federal program that began in the late 1940s after the passage of Title 1 of the Housing Act of 1949. P.L. 81-171. It
aimed to revitalize major cities by providing federal subsidies for redevelopment of identified “slums,” areas with
little economic impact or activity. The act was further amended in 1954 to increase federally-backed incentives for
city-developers to seize, raze, and renew low-income housing tracts. While Urban Renewal was federally funded,
all plans had to be approved by City Council vote. By the late-1960s, through Urban Renewal programs, the City
Council had displaced around 13,043 families, and 79.6% of those families were Black. Arnold R. Hirsch, Making
the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 306 (1998).
Hirsch, supra note 24, at 240.
Cohen & Taylor, supra note 17, at 201.
Mary Pattillo, Black on the Block: The Politics of Race and Class in the City, 188 (2007).
BPI Chicago, What is Gautreaux? (2013), https://www.bpichicago.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/what-is-
BPI Chicago, The Gautreaux Lawsuit, https://www.bpichicago.org/programs/housing-community-development/
Gautreaux v. Romney, 448 F.2d 731 (7th Cir 1971).
Pattillo, supra note 28, at 188.
Pattillo, supra note 28, at 185.
Larry Bennett, Janet Smith, & Patricia Wright, Where are Poor People to Live?: Transforming Public Housing Com-
munities 245 (2006)
310 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. §10/9 (2007)
Janet K. Levin, Rewriting Beginnings: The Lessons of Gautreaux, 28 J. MARSHALL L. REV. 57, 70 (1994).
Bennett, supra note 33, at 245.
Gautreaux 342 F. Supp. 827 (N.D.Ill. 1972), aff’d sub nom., Gautreaux v. City of Chi.,
480 F.2d 210 (7th Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 414 U.S. 1144, 94 S.Ct. 895, 39 L.Ed.2d 98
(1974) (district court ordered CHA to by-pass Chicago City Council approval for selection
of sites for low rent housing.).
Bennett, supra note 33, at 245.

Alexander Polikoff, Waiting for Gautreaux: A Story of Segregation, Housing, and the Black Ghetto, 140 (2006).
Chi. Policy Research Team, Not Welcome: The Uneven Geographies of Housing Choice, https://docs.wixstatic.com/
ugd/664803_7e496bfc89d345a7b6b3210991b38476.pdf (2017)
Vill. of Arlington Heights v. Metro. Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 267 (1977) (finding that certain facially innoc-
uous statements to be evidence of racial animus, especially when made during the sequence of events preceding
challenged decision).
See Smith v. Clarkton, 682 F.2d 1055 (4th Cir. 1982); See also Greater New Orleans Fair Hous. Action Ctr. v. St.
Bernard Par., 641 F. Supp. 2d 563, 565 (E.D. La. 2009); See also Atkins v. Robinson, 545 F. Supp. 852, 871-72 (E.D.
Va. 1982) (finding statement that resident “feared the projects ‘would degenerate to slumlike conditions, with
an abundance of crime’ to be a veiled reference to race.”); See also Sunrise Dev., Inc., 62 F. Supp. 2d at 775 (find-
ing substantial likelihood of discriminatory intent under FHA when residents of community voiced opposition to
construction of assisted living facility, including by criticizing the “appearance and activity” of such facilities and
asserting that such facilities would “alter the residential character,” lower property values, and drain community
services.); See also Ave. 6E Invs., LLC v. City of Yuma, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14913, *2 (D. Ariz. Jan. 29, 2018) (where cit-
izens decried higher-density and lower-priced housing because it would increase crime and reduce property values
based on the “demographics” that they associated with the developer’s other properties, which were at least 50%
See Palmore v. Sidoti, 466 U.S. 429, 433 (1984); See also Lucas v. Colo. Gen. Assembly, 377 U.S. 713, 736-37
(1964); See also United States v. Yonkers Bd. of Educ. (Yonkers I), 837 F.2d 1181, 1224 (2d Cir. 1987). See also
Innovative Health Sys. Inc. v. City of White Plains, 117 F.3d 37, 49 (2d Cir. 1997) (finding that “a decision maker has
a duty not to allow illegal prejudices of the majority to influence the decision-making process. A … discriminatory
act [is] no less illegal simply because it enjoys broad public support.”).
BPI Chicago, supra note 51.
42 U.S.C. § 3608 (2012).
See 42 U.S.C. §§ 3608(d), 3608(e)(5)(2012) (requiring that HUD administer funding programs in a manner “af-
firmatively to further” the policies of the Fair Housing Act). §3608 has long been recognized to impose binding ob-
ligations on agencies/entities administering federal housing programs and receiving HUD funding. See, e.g., Otero,
484 F.2d at 1133-34 (finding that “the affirmative duty placed on … HUD by §3608(e)(5)” also extends to “other
agencies administering federal assisted housing programs”); Langlois, 234 F. Supp. 2d at 73 (declining to “construe
the boundary of the duty to affirmatively further fair housing as ending with [HUD]”); Wallace v. Chi. Hous. Auth.,
298 F. Supp. 2d 710, 719 (N.D. Ill. 2003) (recognizing that recipients of HUD funding have an obligation to HUD
to affirmatively further fair housing).
24 C.F.R. §§ 91.225(a)(1); 570.601(a)(2)(2017).
24 C.F.R. §§ 92.202(b)(2017); 24 CFR 983.57(e)(2017).
24 C.R.F. § 983.57(e)(3)(vi) (2017).
Multiple developers independently noted that Alderman Walter Burnett (27th Ward) was one of the few
Northside alderman to openly welcome and support affordable housing.
Fran Spielman, Emanuel’s private emails filled with complaints about crime, CHI. SUN-TIMES (May 24, 2018),
Appendix A.
Dukmasova, supra note 3.
Gary Washburn, Daley defends system of aldermanic zoning decisions, CHI. TRIB. (Jan 29, 2008), http://articles.
John Byrne, Seven North Side aldermen vow to add affordable housing to end ‘legacy of exclusion,’ CHI. TRIB.
(May, 10 2017), http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-aldermen-affordable-hous-
Robert Becker and Dan Mihalopoulos, Community input an illusion, CHI. TRIB. (Jan. 28, 2008), http://www.
Howard Ludwig, New Condos, Apartments on 111th St. Would Require Neighbors’ OK Under Plan, DNAINFO (Sept.
29, 2015), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150929/mt-greenwood/new-condos-apartments-on-111th-st-
47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar, 47th Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, http://chicago47.org/projects/zoning/.
Alderman Napolitano 41st Ward, Zoning Advisory Committee, https://www.chicago41.com/zoning-advisory-com-
The 2015 proposed mixed-use rental property at 8535 W. Higgins Road in Alderman Napolitano 41st Ward is one

such example of the ZAC’s ability to leverage its power in order to change the character and nature of a develop-
ment. At the request of the ZAC, the Higgins Development reduced the residential building by 80 feet (resulting in
the loss of 10 units), added pedestrian paths, and increased the building’s setback from the street.
Appendix B.
Members of a closed Facebook group who opposed the 5150 N. Northwest Highway project frequently posted
thinly veiled comments rooted in racist and classist misconceptions toward affordable housing and voucher hold-
An example of this is seen in Pilsen’s affordable housing mandate, where the city’s affordable housing mandate is
effectively doubled so that all new developments of 10 or more units are required to provide 21 percent of all units
at an affordable rate.
Cherone, supra note 81.
Welcome to the Neighborhood: Edison Park, CHICAGO REALTOR (2010), https://chicagorealtor.com/wp-content/
Alex Nitkin, Edison Park Condo Proposal Shot Down by Advisory Committee, DNAINFO (Jan. 5, 2017), https://
Heather Cherone, Things Get Ugly as Rival Politicians Clash Over Edison Park Apartment Plan, DNAINFO (June 2,
2016), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160602/edison-park/things-get-ugly-as-rival-politicians-clash-over-
Heather Cherone, Proposed Edison Park Mixed-Use Condo Project Blasted By Residents, DNAINFO (Oct. 7, 2016),
Alex Nitkin & Heather Cherone, Edison Park Condo Proposal Still Faces Heat From Community, Despite Tweaks,
DNAINFO (Nov. 11, 2016), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20161111/edison-park/edison-park-mixed-use-con-
Jay Kozlarz, Local zoning committee scuttles condos planned near Edison Park transit stop, CURBED CHI., (Jan.
5, 2017), https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/1/5/14178360/chicago-development-news-edisonparkcondo-proj-
Alex Nitkin, Red Hot Edison Park Wants To Stay Exactly As It Is, Alderman Says, DNAINFO (Jan. 10, 2017),
Census Reporter, Census Tract 2505, Cook, IL, https://censusreporter.org/profiles/14000US17031250500-census-
Jeffrey Steele, Galewood a convenient, close-knit Chicago neighborhood, CHI. TRIB. (Feb. 12, 2010), http://www.
Igor Studenkov, Proposed apartments in Galewood spark debate, OAKPARK.COM (Oct. 12, 2017), http://www.
Igor Studenkov, Taliaferro won’t support luxury apartment proposal, Austin Weekly News, (Oct. 31, 2017), http://
Igor Studenkov, Proposed apartments in Galewood spark debate, OakPark.com (Oct. 12, 2017), http://www.oak-
Jay Koziarz, Galewood apartment development blocked by local alderman, Curbed Chi. (Nov. 1, 2017), https://
Elliott Ramos, Interactive: City Council-approved Chicago Ward Map, WBEZ News (Jan. 19, 2012), https://www.
Heather Cherone, 55-Unit Affordable Apartment Complex Proposed for Portage Park, DNAINFO (Jan 25, 2016),

Portage Parke, Low income development at central and patterson (the vacant lot north of the CVS), EveryBlock
Chi. (Jan 18, 2016), https://web.archive.org/web/20160122032644/https://chicago.everyblock.com/kindness/
Brian Nadig, Alderman Villegas pulls plug on affordable housing plan for Portage Park, Nadig Newspaper (Jan. 27,
2016), http://nadignewspapers.com/2016/01/27/alderman-villegas-pulls-plug-on-affordable-housing-plan-for-
Gilbert from Chicago on behalf of Ald. Villegas, Proposed Development at 3655 W. Central Ave, EveryBlock
Chi. (Jan. 26, 2016), https://chicago.everyblock.com/announcements/jan26-proposed-development-3655-w-central-
Alex Nitkin, Portage Park Dementia Care Facility Plan Wins Praise From Neighbors, DNAINFO (June 30, 2017),
Chuck Sudo, When Aldermen Downzone, It Can Hurt Small Businesses, BISNOW (Apr. 5, 2018), https://www.
Vincent Lesczynski Michael, Preserving the Future: Historic Districts in New York City and Chicago in the late 20th
Century, University of Chicago (2007).
2 Chi., Ill. Code §120-740 -120-850 (2017).
See 13 Chi., Ill. Code §32-020 (2017); 13 Chi., Ill. Code §32-120 (2017); 13 Chi., Ill. Code §32-200 (2017); 13
Chi., Ill. Code §32-205 (2017); 13 Chi., Ill. Code §200-100 – 105. (2017); 18 Chi. Ill. Code §13-101 (2017).
Affordable rental units are characterized here as units of any size with annual rents less than 30% of a low-in-
come family’s earnings (60% of the AMI, roughly equivalent to rents in LIHTC properties). Note that this does not
cross tabulate unit size and uses contract rent. Growth of utility expenses and other factors of rent, plus the pricing
of smaller units make this less affordable respective to family size than the data is able to
Elliott Ramos, Interactive: City Council-approved Chicago Ward Map, WBEZ News (Jan. 19, 2012), https://www.
Mina Bloom, Logan Square Building Boom Has Neighbors In Avondale Looking For Control, DNAINFO (Sep. 27,
2017), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170927/avondale/avondale-downzoning-effort-corner-project-alder-
Mina Bloom, Ald. Rosa Flexes Muscles On Milwaukee: No New Developments Without Approval, DNAINFO (Oct.
12, 2017), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20171012/avondale/alderman-carlos-ramirez-rosa-rezoning-down-
Mina Bloom, Tensions High As Neighbors Debate Milwaukee Avenue Rezoning Plan, DNAINFO (Nov. 1, 2017),
The only exception is a mandatory (or elective) planned development in a D (Downtown) zoning district.
City of Chi. Office of the Inspector Gen., Department of Planning and Development Affordable Requirements Ad-
ministration Audit (March 2017).
Rick Wendy & David Warner, Chicago Expands Mandatory Affordable Housing for Private Residential Development.
Chicago, IL: Freeborn and Peters, LLP.
2 Chi., Ill. Code §45-110 (2017) (2007 affordable housing commitment).
2 CHI., ILL. CODE §45-115 (2017) (2015 affordability requirements).

City of Chi. Dept. of Hous., Internal Procedures (2004).
City of Chi. Dept. of Hous., Internal Procedures (2005) (Internal Program Descriptions – Home Improvement/
Special Needs. Revision Date: Summer 2005 Multi-unit Lending Procedures).
CHI. SO2017-7654, Section 7 (Dec. 4, 2017).
City of Chi. Qualified Allocation Plan (2011), Section III. Tax Credit Reservation Process B., Application Forms
and Documentation (the requirement was also included in the same location the qualified allocation plans for the
years 2001, 2006 and 2009).
Rev. Rul. 2016-29, 6. (“When state housing credit agencies allocate housing credit dollar amounts, § 42(m)(1)
(A)(ii) does not require or encourage these agencies to reject all proposals that do not obtain the approval of the
locality where the project developer proposes to place the project. That is, it neither requires nor encourages hous-
ing credit agencies to honor local vetoes.”) The Ruling finds that state housing finance agency Qualified Allocation
Plans that have a local support requirement are acting inconsistent with § 42 (m)(l)(A)(ii) as well as federal fair
housing laws. Id.
City of Chi. Dept. of Planning and Dev., Multi-Family Housing Financial Assistance Application Instructions
(2017), https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/general/housing/2017_MF_Application_In-
Marisa Novara, Is fear of young people driving our housing supply?, Metro. Planning Coun. (Mar. 16, 2016),
2 CHI., ILL. CODE § 124-030(a) (2017).
2 CHI., ILL. CODE §124-030(b) (2017).
2.CHI., ILL. CODE §124-030(b)(3) (2017).
65 ILC.S. § 5/11-74.4-4(c);(e);(j).
City of Chi., Western Avenue North Redevelopment Project Area: Tax Increment Financing District Eligibility
Study, Redevelopment Plan, and Project (2000), https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/tif/
Adeshina Emmanuel, $220M Development Proposed for Former Maryville Academy Site, DNAINFO (Nov.
28, 2012), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121128/uptown/220m-developmentproposed-forform-
Interview with housing advocate.
Adeshina Emmanuel, Developer Says Uptown Has ‘Too Much’ Affordable Housing, Aims For Luxury, DNAINFO
(Dec. 27, 2012), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20121227/uptown/critics-say-planned-luxury-lakefront-com-
Adeshina Emmanuel, $14 Million TIF for Uptown Luxury Housing Draws Committee OK, Protests, DNAINFO (Feb.
26, 2014), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140226/uptown/14m-tif-for-uptown-luxury-housing-draws-ok-
Adeshina Emmanuel, Developer Could Change Plan for Luxury Housing Amid Financial Uncertainty, DNAINFO,
(July 1, 2014), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140701/uptown/developer-could-change-plan-for-luxu-
Mina Bloom, Controversial Luxury Development in Uptown Moving Forward, DNAINFO (Apr. 2, 2015), https://
City of Chi. Dept. of Cmty. Dev., Montrose Clarendon Tax Increment Financing Plan and Project (2010) https://
www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/dcd/tif/plans/T_173_MontroseClarendonRDP.pdf; Ted Cox, Coun-
cil ‘Iced’ Activists From Meeting By Using Interns to Fill Seats: Suit, DNAINFO (July 14, 2016), https://www.dnainfo.
Hal Dardick, City Council must allow public comment, judge rules, Chi. Trib. (Dec. 20, 2016), http://www.chicag-
Chi. Data Portal: City Owned Land Inventory (Oct. 6, 2017).
City of Chi. Dep’t of Planning and Dev., New Homes for Chicago: City Lots for City Living Application.
Ken Hare, Chicago City Council Sued Over Alleged Closed TIF Meeting, CHI. DEFENDER (Aug. 5, 2016), https://
Interview with housing advocate.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Community Data Snapshot: Jefferson Park (June 2017), http://www.
Jefferson Park, Encyclopedia of Chicago (2004), http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/667.html.
Heather Cherone, Jefferson Park Apartment Complex Opponents to Launch Petition Drive, DNAINFO (June 25,
2014), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140625/jefferson-park/jefferson-park-apartment-complex-oppo-
Heather Cherone, Petition Against Jefferson Park Apartment Complex Delivered to Ald. Arena, DNAINFO (July
24, 2014), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140724/jefferson-park/petition-against-jefferson-park-apart-
Heather Cherone, Alderman’s Support for Dense Developments Near Transit Hubs Sparks Debate, DNAINFO (Jan.
21, 2015), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150121/jefferson-park/aldermans-support-for-dense-develop-
Heather Cherone & Ted Cox, Jefferson Park Gateway Project Approved by City Commission on Second Try, DNAIN-
FO (Sept. 8, 2015), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150908/jefferson-park/jefferson-park-gateway-project-
Heather Cherone, Plan for 48 Apartments Near Jeff Park Transit Center Revived, Alderman Says, DNAINFO (May
6, 2016), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160506/jefferson-park/plan-for-48-apartments-near-jeff-park-tran-
Heather Cherone, Argument Over Jeff Park’s Future Boils Over During Debate About Apartments, DNAINFO (May
17, 2016), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160517/jefferson-park/argument-over-jeff-parks-future-boils-
Heather Cherone, 48-Unit Apartment Complex Near Jefferson Park Transit Hub Gets Arena’s OK, DNAINFO (Sept.
6, 2016), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160902/sauganash/48-unit-apartment-complex-near-jefferson-
Alex Nitkin, Jeff Park Plan For 100 Mixed-Income Apartments Unveiled by Ald. Arena, DNAINFO (Jan. 26, 2017),
Alex Nitkin, Jefferson Park Mixed-Income Housing Would Bring ‘Miscreants,’ Neighbors Say. DNAINFO, (Feb. 12,
2017) https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170210/jefferson-park/jeffeson-park-mixed-income-housing-meeting-
Nitkin, supra note 166.
Alex Nitkin, Jefferson Park Mixed-Income Housing Proposal Sparks Fierce Backlash, DNAINFO (Feb. 3, 2017),
Northwest Side Residents Against the 5150 Northwest Highway, https://www.change.org/p/jefferson-park-neigh-
Alex Nitkin, Jefferson Park Mixed-Income Housing Would Bring ‘Miscreants,’ Neighbors Say, DNAINFO (Feb. 12,
2017), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170210/jefferson-park/jeffeson-park-mixed-income-housing-meeting-
Interview with housing advocate.
Northwest Side Neighbor, News: March 7th Ward Night Protest, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/
Alex Nitkin, Jeff Park Storage Facility To Be Considered At Unprecedented Zoning Meeting, DNAINFO (May 5,
2017), https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170505/jefferson-park/jefferson-park-affordable-housing-storage-fa-
Alex Nitkin & Heather Cherone, Jeff Park Storage Facility Gets Final OK Despite Napolitano’s ‘No’ Vote. DNAINFO.
May 24, 2017 https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170524/jefferson-park/jefferson-park-affordable-housing-stor-

Jay Kozlarz, 25 units cut from controversial Jefferson Park apartment plan, Curbed Chi. (Feb. 8, 2018), https://chi-
Heather Cherone, Aldermen Fight Over Affordable Housing On NW Side: ‘Stay Out Of The 45th’ DNAINFO, (May
18, 2017 https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170518/downtown/two-far-nw-side-aldermen-square-off-over-
affordable-housing-jeff-park; Cyryl Jakubowski, Protest goes on outside church during Arena’s community meeting,
Nadig Newspapers (Feb. 14, 2017), http://nadignewspapers.com/2017/02/14/protest-goes-on-outside-church-
Heather Cherone, Aldermen Fight Over Affordable Housing On NW Side: ‘Stay Out Of The 45th’ DNAINFO, (May
18, 2017 https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170518/downtown/two-far-nw-side-aldermen-square-off-over-af-
Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, Letter: The fight for affordable housing in Jefferson Park continues, Chi. Trib. (June 6, 2017),
Jay Kozlarz, 25 units cut from controversial Jefferson Park apartment plan, Curbed Chi. (Feb. 8, 2018), https://chi-
Brian Nadig, Complaint charges cops made racist remarks on housing plan Nadig Newspapers (Feb. 9, 2018), http://
nadignewspapers.com/2018/02/09/complaint-charges-cops-made-racist-remarks-housing-plan/; John Byrne,
Northwest Side alderman files complaint against cops, alleging racially charged language in housing controversy, Chi.
Trib. (Feb. 9 2018), http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-arena-northwest-side-housing-po-
Brian Nadig, Dozens of government workers, including firefighters, and retired teachers faced scrutiny from Arena’s
office for their social media comments, Nadig Newspapers (Mar. 3, 2018), http://nadignewspapers.com/2018/03/03/
Brian Nadig, Fraternal Order of Police files complaint against Ald. Arena with Inspector General, Nadig Newspapers
(Apr. 6, 2018), http://nadignewspapers.com/2018/04/06/fraternal-order-of-police-files-complaint-against-ald-are-
Nadig, supra note 189.
Alby Gallun, Residential tower planned next to O’Hare Marriott, Crain’s Chi. Business (Sept. 23,
2015), http://www.chicagobusiness.com/realestate/20150923/CRED03/150929948/residential-tow-
41st Ward Zoning Advisory Board (Aug. 5, 2015),
Dukmasova, supra note 3.
Ald. Napolitano letter to Commissioner Reifman, on file with the author.
41st Ward Zoning Advisory Board (Aug. 5, 2015),
Dukmasova, supra note 3.
Alex Nitkin, 297 Apartments Near O’Hare Approved Over Alderman’s Objection, DNAINFO (July 20, 2017),
Memorandum from Tesca Associates to Lawrence Debb, Student Pop. Estimate, Nov. 9, 2016, on file with the
Dukmasova, supra note 3.
Alex Nitkin, 299 Luxury Micro Apartments Proposed Next To Cumberland Marriott, DNAINFO (Dec. 8, 2016),
Nitkin, supra note 200.
Dukmasova, supra note 3.
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