Neighbors oppose Champaign zoning proposal to increase apartment density

Now this will be brought before the city council during its meeting on Tuesday. (WCCU)

Hundreds of Champaign neighbors are joining together against a new zoning proposal, saying it threatens the character and value of their community.

“This is a particularly beautiful and different neighborhood in Champaign and you cannot transplant history," said resident Beatrice Pavia.

Neighbors in the Old Town district are worried the historical charm of the area might disappear.

“This is our neighborhood. This is where we live and our neighborhood is a big part of our quality of life that we have," said resident Tod Satterthwaite.

A new zoning proposal by the city’s planning commission looks to increase apartment density by 500 percent in the district—placing historic and single-family homes at risk of being replaced by large apartments.

“So instead of having a neighborhood sized apartment building, now you got a mid-size apartment building that no longer matches the scale of the existing homes in the single-family areas," said Satterthwaite.

The neighbors said they like the proposal, like the design standards and community input, just not how big the buildings will be.

“To say I am going to buy a house next to a structure where you can have three apartments is way different than saying I am a going to buy a house next to a structure with 16 apartments," Pavia said.

Being one of the oldest areas in Champaign, neighbors said they invested too much into the community, to have it taken away.

“You have to protect it because it's not transferable and I would hope the city feels that way about its own heritage," Pavia said.

Now this will be brought before the city council during its meeting on Tuesday.

Neighbors hope they will accept the planning commission’s proposal but with some changes.

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