Form Based Code
Introduction

By definition Form Based Code means that form proceeds function which means that what the building looks like is more important than whether it satisfies the needs of the property owner. This code will dictate to the property owner where a new building will be located and how big it will be depending upon the frontage on the Main Street Corridor of Bloomington-Normal.

Although current owners properties are grandfathered, if a catastrophic event such as a tornado or fire destroys in excess of 50% fair market value of structure, a new form based code compliant building would be required. In the case of the Mugsy's building I have been informed by Building and Safety Dept., that since the current building sits a few feet too far north, that it does not meet current code and would have to be rebuilt anyway to meet current code. Checking with an architect however confirms my suspicion that with the exception of those few feet that the basic footprint of my current building could still be used saving lots of money.

I checked with my insurance agent and was told that my premium would increase about $5000-$6000 annually to cover the possibility of needing to spend a hypothetical $1.5 million for an FBC building. The general contractor that I have worked with in the past has provided me an estimate of $3200 to discuss the possibilities of a code that was not yet code. Therefore until I know what the code is, I would have to spend $3200 just so I can consider my options.

Along the Main Street Corridor of Bloomington-Normal the emphasis has been placed on providing student apartments to fulfill the needs of ISU wanting to get out of the dorm business. Illinois State has publicly stated that they have a need for 2500 beds. The President of IWU, Dick WIlson once stated at a Main Street Corridor Commission meeting that IWU "...,would like to see the 3-4 block area that borders IWU as their campus town."

These student apartment form based code buildings call for the first floor to be retail and the upper two floors to be apartments. Whatever parking is available to the retailer will have to be shared with the tenants and their guests. For many current business owners along the Corridor this will not be enough parking. We have customers from all over the twin cities as well as from out of town. If our customers feel like they "can never find a parking place" they will not be back. Less parking will not work for us.

Another very important issue that you "never" hear about is the ISU Master Plan that can be found on their website. Noted in the text in the Central District Development under Action section 2A. which states,"Realigning Main and Kingsley Streets, vacating Main Street between College Avenue and Beaufort Street, to create Redbird Village."  Wow! Can you believe this? Check the website folks cause I'm not making this stuff up. Again I must say, wow! Now imagine if you will what happens if Main Street is shut down between Beaufort and College. Main Street is the main north/south artery through this town. Add a bunch of new detours, new routes and ask yourself if this is the type of city you want to pass through while traveling, or go around it. Worse yet as a local citizen if you use this street do you want to be slowed down with more stop signs and turns and less lanes?

Now consider this. Who will PAY for this and how much will it COST? Taxpayers WILL PAY for it, that's who,,,we always get stuck with the bill! Think about the projects such as the U.S. Coliseum, the Performing Arts Center and the projects in Normal that have gone way over budget and have cost us in the tens of millions of dollars. As of yet our group has asked what the supporting infrastructure for form based code will cost and they don't have an answer. Surely such a project will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars!

Ladies and Gentlemen the proponents pushing for the form based code agenda DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE COST IS and they don't want to discuss it! There are many reasons that I do not support the FBC but to tackle a project such as this during these trying economic times is absolutely ludicrous! It's crazy! It's insane! It is not fiscally sustainable!

PART 2

Please go to our LINKS PAGE and check out the following links www.freedomadvocates.org   www.americanpolicy.org   www.takingliberty.us

There you will find very good information explaining the background madness of form based code. Prepare to have your eyes opened!

Part 3

Update 5/18/2011

With the Town of Normal passing the adoption of the Form Based Code as a secondary code, Mayor Koos and crew scored a major victory in their quest to make FBC the only code as the ducks are in the row to make it happen. Touted as a compromise this second code is now one of two codes which obviously takes it from 0% to 50%, reducing the old code from 100% to 50%.

Last fall the Senate Finance Committee appropriated $4.3 billion for the Livable Communities Act to subsidize projects just like what the Farr Plan proposes for our city. It is another pork barrel spending initiative that the country can ill afford. More frivolous spending billed to you the taxpayer. More frivolous spending reducing our bond rating and contributing on a massive scale to reduce the value of our dollars. Inflation. Since money isn't free, what pray tell have the fools in DC put up for collateral? Do the Chinese Free Trade Zones have anything to do with such collateral madness? In case you don't know, the CFTZ present in all 50 states allows the Chinese (and other foreign powers) to acquire American soil (as their soil) to set up their own manufacturing facilities. Who knows what kind of deals are made in DC these days?

Part 4

I attended the Normal Planning Commission meeting on Thursday June 9, 2011. After the Planning Commission listened to folks talking about chicken poop for 1 1/2 hours this Commission voted 3-2 in favor of recommending the keeping of urban chickens for the laying of eggs to be approved. I'm basically okay with that but really haven't given it much thought. Interestingly enough however the Optional Form Based Code discussion was over in about 20 minutes passing 5-0 with the usual no discussion of cost or property rights issues. 

Although I had a few words to say it was not one of my better days of clear or concise articulation.  My public speaking most definitely needs some work! Anyway I did mention that I couldn't argue with the issue of the FBC as an option but the fear was that at a later date it may become mandatory. My words were not meant to mean that I support the "option" because I do not. I know where this option will lead us.

Part 5 Update 12/29/2013

On December 9th, 2013, I appeared and asked the Bloomington City Council to table a resolution to support the November 2013 Downtown Strategy Plan, for further review. This Plan was just released the day before Thanksgiving on the Downtown Bloomington Association website, curiously not on the City of Bloomington website. Anyway as this new Plan had reportedly removed the form based code language from the document, it did not. Only the two words, form - based were removed. The concept is the same, very little had changed. The council did not table the Plan and did in fact vote 7-2, to endorse the resolution. What this means is that the Downtown Plan will now start the procedure to make it law, and predictably more form based code will ensue. Even toward the end of the meeting during the mayors discussion refering to the content of the Plan, city manager David Hales noted that, "Not much had changed."