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How to easily keep tabs on zoning changes in your neighborhood

A new feature from Chicago Cityscape will send alerts to users anytime a zoning change is introduced

Curbed Chicago Flickr pool/Gabriel X. Michael

With so much demolition and construction activity happening around the city, it can be tough to keep track on what is happening in each neighborhood. Fortunately, with the city’s permitting system, it’s possible to search for activity on your block and in your neighborhood to see if that old house down the street is being renovated or demolished.

However, zoning changes can be a little more complicated. As aldermen control the zoning in their ward, there’s no single process that is followed throughout the city when it comes to zoning changes. Many aldermen inform community groups and host public meetings to discuss proposed zoning changes, while others simply only follow the mandated requirement of posting public notices near the property and alerting direct neighbors by mail.

A public notice alerting residents about a proposed zoning change.
AJ LaTrace/Curbed Chicago

The construction and development data portal Chicago Cityscape has unveiled a feature which allows users to keep track and get automatic alerts when any zoning change is introduced for a specific area. Users can select one of the thousands of mapped “places” or draw their own and subscribe to get alerts to changes within that “place.” Otherwise, users can also search for a specific address and subscribe to receive alerts on any changes that are proposed within a two-block radius.

Once a zoning change has passed through the city council, it’s essentially too late to provide input to the elected officials who are responsible for making the decisions. However, residents now have various tools to help them stay informed on what is happening on their block and in the broader neighborhood area.