A duplex on Oaklawn Circle Drive in Bloomington. (Rich Janzaruk / Herald-Times)
A duplex on Oaklawn Circle Drive in Bloomington. (Rich Janzaruk / Herald-Times)
A day after paving the path for more duplexes in Bloomington, the city council put some guardrails in place with the goal of preventing such structures from proliferating.

Council members Wednesday evening also said they planned to discuss other ways to mitigate the impact of duplexes. A proposal by two council members opposed to more duplexes in the city’s core would limit their number to no more than 10 per year and the number of bedrooms to no more than two per side unless the building complies with affordable housing goals.

On Wednesday, council members voted unanimously to allow duplexes as a conditional use, which means they cannot be built without approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Neighbors of proposed duplexes also must be notified. The council previously was considering allowing duplexes "by right,” meaning property owners could build the structures without having to notify neighbors or seeking BZA approval.

That compromise, changing duplex use from “by right” to conditional, did not appear to fully satisfy any of the council members nor most of the roughly 50 Bloomington residents who commented on the plan via Zoom.

Many duplex opponents said the conditional use rules were too vague to prevent duplexes but would merely slow their approval. Meanwhile, many duplex supporters said they would prefer the structures be allowed “by right,” but were willing to add the BZA approval process in the interest of compromise.
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