Upper-story corporate offices won’t have to comply with one of Bloomington’s newest rules. The City Council passed an amendment last week excluding those offices from its ordinance governing standardized businesses. The Council passed that ordinance in June. It allows the city to regulate the design of new chain restaurants and chain stores downtown. Tom Micuda, the city’s planning director, suggested changing the definition of standardized business to exempt the offices. The amendment comes at the urging of at least two prominent businesses downtown. Dave Harstad, the owner of Summit Realty and a member of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, was the first to raise the issue in June. And Micuda said he also heard from CFC Properties, which is part of the Cook Group.
The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposed the standardized business ordinance when it was first proposed earlier this year. At that time the proposed rule would have allowed city officials to refuse permits to chain businesses in order to prevent an over-concentration of chains downtown. But the Council stripped that provision. The final version only regulates design of the businesses. The Chamber now supports the ordinance. Larry Jacobs, a spokesman for the Chamber, thanked the Council for working with local businesspeople on the most recent amendment and the Council later voted unanimously to approve the exemption for upper-story offices.