top of page


City of Chicago Planned Development Process

The Planned Development (PD) zoning designation is required for certain projects to ensure adequate public review, encourage unified planning and development, promote economically beneficial development patterns that are compatible with the character of existing neighborhoods, allow design flexibility, and encourage protection and conservation of the city's natural resources.

Planned developments may include one or more principal buildings, lots, and principal uses intended to be built over a period of time. The designation is required for numerous types of projects, including those that involve:

  • Air rights

  • Airports and heliports

  • Buildings that exceed the height thresholds of certain districts

  • Expansion of existing planned developments

  • Development within 100 feet of a waterway

  • Non-accessory parking in “D” zoning districts

  • Institutional and campus-oriented projects

  • Large residential, commercial, and industrial developments

  • Power plants, water plants, and wastewater plants

  • Spectator facilities with a seating capacity of 1,000 or more persons

The Planned Development review process is divided into two parts. Part I involves basic zoning controls and statements intended to guide the development of a particular site. Part II requires a review of actual project plans prior to construction.

The review process also requires public hearings before the Chicago Plan Commission and City Council Committee on Zoning prior to a vote by the full City Council. See the full process outline below.





17-13-0601 Purpose. The section sets forth the procedures for review and approval of planned developments. (See Chapter 17-8 for planned development guidelines and standards)


17-13-0602 Applications.


17-13-0602-A Authority to File. Planned development applications may be submitted by the Mayor, City Council, Zoning Administrator or by the property owner of the subject property.


17-13-0602-B Filing.

         1.   Planned development applications must be filed with the Zoning Administrator.

         2.   The Zoning Administrator must transmit an original copy of the application without delay to the City Clerk, who must record it in the proceedings of the City Council at its next regular meeting.

         3.   The Zoning Administrator must also, within 5 days of application filing, transmit copies of the application to the Plan Commission.


17-13-0603 Recommendations – Zoning Administrator.  The Zoning Administrator must review each planned development and forward a recommendation on the proposal to the Plan Commission before the Plan Commission's public hearing.  The recommendation of the Zoning Administrator must also be forwarded to the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.


17-13-0604 Hearing – Plan Commission.


17-13-0604-A Within 7 days of the receipt of a complete application, the Plan Commission must schedule a public hearing to review the planned development application.


17-13-0604-B Written, Published and Posted Notice of the Plan Commission public hearing must be provided in accordance with Sec. 17-13-0107-A, Sec. 17-13-0107-B and Sec. 17-13-0107-C.


17-13-0604-C The Plan Commission must provide a reasonable opportunity for all interested parties to express their opinions under such rules and regulations as the Plan Commission may adopt.


17-13-0604-D The Plan Commission's public hearing must be concluded within 30 days of commencement, provided that the Plan Commission may grant such extensions of time as the applicant may request. If the applicant requests or agrees to an extension of time, such action will be deemed a waiver of the 30-day public hearing period.


17-13-0604-E Whenever practicable, any public hearings required to be held by the Plan Commission affecting the same property will be held concurrently.


17-13-0605 Plan Commission Recommendation. Within 7 days of the close of the Plan Commission public hearing, the Plan Commission must forward its findings, determination and recommendation to the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.


17-13-0606 Hearing – City Council Committee on Zoning. The City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards must hold a public hearing on all planned development proposals for the purpose of reviewing the proposed project and taking testimony.  Written, Published and Posted Notice of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards' public hearing must be provided in accordance with Sec. 17-13-0107-A, Sec. 17-13-0107-B and Sec. 17-13-0107-C.


17-13-0607 Final Action – City Council. The City Council is the final decision-making body on planned developments. The City Council may act by simple majority vote.


17-13-0608 Inaction by City Council. If the City Council does not take action on a proposed planned development amendment within 6 months of the day the Plan Commission recommendation is filed with the City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards, the application will be considered to have been denied. 


17-13-0609 Review and Decision-Making Criteria. In reviewing and making decisions on proposed planned developments, review bodies and decision-making bodies must consider at least the following factors:


17-13-0609-A whether the proposed development complies with the standards and guidelines of Sec. 17-8-0900;


17-13-0609-B whether the proposed development is compatible with the character of the surrounding area in terms of uses, density and building scale; and


17-13-0609-C whether public infrastructure facilities and city services will be adequate to serve the proposed development at the time of occupancy.


17-13-0610 Effect of Planned Development Approval. After the adoption of a planned development ordinance, every application for a permit or license within the planned development boundaries must be reviewed by the Zoning Administrator for a determination that the proposed use, building or structure complies with all provisions of the planned development ordinance.  A review fee of $0.50 per square foot of buildable floor area will be assessed at the time of review.  Zoning and occupancy certificates may be issued by the Zoning Administrator for uses, buildings or structures within the planned development only upon his written approval.  Any permit, license or certificate issued in conflict with the planned development ordinance is null and void.


17-13-0611 Minor Changes and Amendments.


17-13-0611-A Minor changes to approved planned developments may be permitted by the Zoning Administrator provided such minor changes will not result in one or more of the following:

         1.   a change in the character of development;

         2.   an increase in the maximum permitted floor area ratio for the total net site area, provided that phases of the development may temporarily exceed the maximum floor ratio for a sub- area;

         3.   an increase in the number of dwelling units in excess of the lesser of 3 units or 5% of the maximum number of dwelling units allowed in the approved planned development. Increases in the maximum number of units may not be made if such increase conflicts with the approved parking ratio, decreases approved setbacks, adversely affects the character of the development or exceeds the approved floor area ratio. Increases in the maximum number of units may be made only once per planned development or, if applicable, once per sub-area; or

         4.   a reduction in the minimum required distance between structures or in periphery setbacks, provided that setback requirements may be adjusted when necessary to permit consistency with the typical pattern or architectural arrangement of surrounding structures.


17-13-0611-B Proposed changes that do not meet the criteria for Minor Changes, as provided in Sec. 17-13-0611-A, may be approved only in accordance with the review and approval procedures for planned developments, as provided in Sec. 17-13-0602 through Sec. 17-13-0610.


17-13-0611-C An approved minor change is valid for 12 months from the date of the letter granting such approval unless action to implement the minor change is commenced within such time period and thereafter diligently pursued to completion, including, if applicable, construction consistent with the minor change as authorized by a building permit.  If action to implement the minor change, including construction, does not begin within the time set forth, or does not proceed with reasonable diligence, then the approval will lapse and become null and void.


17-13-0611-D The fee to review and process a request for minor change approval is $1,500.00.


17-13-0612 Lapse of Approval.


17-13-0612-A Every planned development ordinance will lapse and be null and void unless construction, as authorized by a building permit, has commenced within 6 years of the date of City Council approval of the planned development ordinance and is thereafter diligently pursued to completion.


17-13-0612-B The 6-year period may be extended by up to one additional year if, before expiration, the Zoning Administrator receives a written request from the applicant stating the reasons for the proposed extension, and the Zoning Administrator determines that good cause for an extension is shown.


17-13-0612-C If a planned development ordinance requires construction to begin at an earlier date, then that time period will control.


17-13-0612-D If construction does not begin within the time set forth, or the construction does not proceed with reasonable diligence, or if construction in a multi-phase development does not proceed according to the specific schedule set forth in the planned development ordinance, then the planned development ordinance will lapse and be null and void.


17-13-0612-E Should a planned development ordinance lapse, as provided in this section, the Zoning Administrator must initiate a Zoning Ordinance Map Amendment to rezone the subject property to the zoning classification that applied to the subject property before approval of the planned development, in accordance with the procedures of Sec. 17-13-0300.


17-13-0613 Special rule – Property within Airport Layout Plan.  Upon annexation, land located within the Airport Layout Plan shall be deemed to be included within, and subject to all the applicable provisions of, the “Airport Planned Development,” as defined in an ordinance passed by the City Council on January 23, 1964, and appearing in the Journal of Proceedings of that date at page 2203.  Such inclusion shall not be subject to the review and approval requirements contained in Section 17-13-0602 through Section 17-13-0610 to be effective. For the purposes of this section, the term “Airport Layout Plan” shall mean the future airport layout plan for Chicago O'Hare International Airport approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in a Record of Decision issued in September 2005, and as amended from time to time.


Source: City of Chicago Department of Planning & Development

bottom of page