This Ordinance was finally passed at the 6-27-12 meeting of the Chicago City council.
The Business Live-Work Ordinance is a response to the financial crisis that began in 2008 and continues to affectChicago’s residents, businesses and economy today. The economic downturn has had a devastating impact on housing, but is also visible in vacant storefronts along many of the City’s commercial corridors. This ordinance is intended to help revitalize these empty retail spaces by making the cost of living and operating a small business inChicagomore affordable.
The ordinance promotes affordability by allowing small business owners to combine residential space and work space in ground floor units in all “B” districts and the C1 and C2 districts. Business live-work units are permitted without special approval in the B2 district, but require a special use permit in all other districts. The special use application must demonstrate that the business live/work unit will not impair the retention or creation of commercial uses in the surrounding neighborhood.
Here are some of the key features of the ordinance:
§ Business live-work units are only permitted on the ground floor of buildings. They must have a pedestrian-oriented frontage, with interior views of the commercial space, and a clearly designated business entrance.
§ Business live-work units can be no less than 800 sq. ft. and no more than 3,000 sq. ft. The commercial space must occupy a minimum of one-third of the unit or 400 sq. ft., whichever is greater, but cannot exceed 50% of the unit’s total floor area. The residential portion of the unit must occupy a minimum of 50% of the unit’s total floor area.
§ The residential space and the commercial space must be contiguous and integrated. No portion of the unit (residential or commercial) may be separately leased or sold.
§ Commercial activities within the business live/work unit are restricted to:
(1) Artist Work or Sales Space;
(3) Personal Services, except massage establishments and businesses that require a Children’s Activities Facility (CAF) license; and
(4) Retail Sales, General, except for food and beverage sales, the sale of firearms or ammunition, and the sale of tobacco products.
§ At least one resident of each business live/work unit must own and operate a business in the unit. The business owner and his or her household are the only people permitted to live in the unit. Before selling or leasing a unit, property owners must disclose the residency and commercial use limitations of business live-work units to prospective owners or tenants.
§ Business live/work units must comply with the habitability requirements set forth in Section 13-64-400 of the Building Code, a new section of the code addressed specifically to combined live-work space.
§ In existing buildings, one business live/work unit per building is exempt from the off-street parking standards and minimum lot area requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.
§ Business live/work units are prohibited in strip centers.