Sunset Hills has new zoning code after multi-year rewrite

New zoning code features 12 different zoning districts


By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen voted 7-1 Sept. 13 to approve a new zoning code, which has been undergoing a rewriting process for the past five years with Chicago-based urban consulting firm House Lavigne. Ward 1 Aldermen Brian Fernandez and Ann McMunn, Ward 3 Aldermen Cathy Friedmann and Randy Epperson, Ward 4 Aldermen Lindsay Hof and Fred Daues and Ward 2 Alderman Christine Leiber voted in favor of the new code while Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong was opposed. 

The new unified development ordinance features 12 zoning districts, six less than the previous code. It includes six residential districts, parks and non-urban, two commercial districts, one industrial and one office. The highest density residential district, R-6, features 5,000 square foot lot sizes. 

Other recent changes also include defining short-term rentals when the need arose in the city during a recent attempt to limit or ban Airbnbs in the city. The new short-term rental definition in the UDO bans any rental of any part of a house for less than 30 days within the city. 

The UDO also outlines the protest petition process. If there is a protest petition against certain developments, signed by at least 30 percent or more of property owners within a certain area around the development, the amendment cannot pass without a two-thirds vote by aldermen. 

Under the approved code, Bander Park is zoned light industrial. City Engineer Bryson Baker said this was because it was a planned development district when it was taken over by the city in 2018 and the zoning has not been changed since the acquisition. It can be changed to park zoning with a change in zoning ordinance.