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Council Happenings: Live-Work Changes on the Table

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In an alleged effort to inject new life into spotty commercial strips, the Sun-Times reports that Ald. "Proco" Joe Moreno has proposed a zoning change for "low intensity" business districts to allow for up to 50% of work space to be used as living space. It's a romantic notion, taking us back to a distant era of more tightly mixed uses. But a critic emerged in Ald. Tim Cullerton, who asked how abuses like overcrowding or converting without a special use permit would be reigned in when the city already has a "problem" with illegal conversions of attics and basements. Still, the bid had enough support to advance from committee to Council. If the ordinance passes, it will apply only to ground-floor live-work spaces between 800 and 3,000 sq ft. Additional restrictions exist to help ensure livability and a suitable 'business look' for passerby. Ald. Moreno is confident that "thousands" of professionals will take advantage of the change. What do you think? [Sun-Times, photo via flickr/Curtis Locke]