CHICAGO — In an effort to slow gentrification in hot real estate markets such as Pilsen and along the 606 Trail, the Chicago City Council approved a plan Wednesday that requires developers looking to demolish existing buildings to pay a fee of up to $15,000.
The plan passed in a 37-12 vote, which will use the money to fund affordable housing throughout Chicago.
“We know that a lot of these developers come tear down homes and build mansions instead of the three-flats and two-flats that we have in our communities,” Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez said.
Fellow Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa pointed to the large loss of naturally occurring affordable housing units in neighborhoods such as Pilsen, Logan Square and Hermosa.
Several Aldermen were not on board with the measure, including Raymond Lopez, who said that the move forces people to do things with property that they own.
In another plan, Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced her overhaul to Chicago’s main affordable housing ordinance. Lightfoot is aiming to raise the bar for developers required to build affordable housing.
The change would increase the percentage of required affordable apartments or condo units developers set aside in their projects for low and moderate income residents. Developers would still be allowed to pay a fee rather than build affordable units.
Recent studies show Chicago has 333,000 low-income households with just 217,000 affordable housing units, giving light to a massive shortfall.
The City Council also agreed to study universal basic income for Chicagoans, with some Aldermen wanting to take federal rescue money and distribute it to struggling families.