Boneyard Creek District
This page provides information about the Boneyard Creek District, a zoning overlay district established in 1978. Below are some common questions and answers about the District.
Boneyard Creek District: Q & A
Q. What is the Boneyard Creek District?
A. The Boneyard Creek Master Plan of 1978 proposed a special district to enhance development around the Boneyard Creek. The Boneyard Creek District was created soon after the Master Plan was adopted, its boundaries were formalized, and development rules were written for the District. The general goals of the District are to develop the creek as a cultural, economic, and environmental asset for the city. The Boneyard Creek District promotes development that reduces flood hazards, improves water quality, and prevents land uses that negatively affect water runoff.
Q. What are the boundaries of the Boneyard Creek District?
A. The Boneyard Creek District includes all properties that have buildable areas that are touched by the 100-year floodplain. The 100-year floodplain represents the area around the creek that has a 1-in-100 (or 1 percent) chance of flooding in a given year.
The original district boundaries were redrawn in 2014 after improved flood maps were published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The boundaries of the district and 100-year floodplain are shown in the downloadable maps at the bottom of this page.
Q. Why was the District remapped in 2014?
A. FEMA created nationwide flood maps in the 1970s. That was the last time flood zones were mapped around the creek, and a lot has changed since the 1970s. In 2013, FEMA published new, up-to-date flood maps, which allowed the City of Urbana to update the Boneyard Creek District to reflect current conditions.
Q. What effect did the District remapping have on my property?
A. The remapping generally shrunk the area around the Boneyard Creek that is prone to flooding, so some properties were removed from the District. However, the paths of waterways can't be precisely controlled, as new development causes changes in runoff patterns, and in turn, flood patterns. While the total flood-prone area shrunk, some areas that were not flood-prone in the 1970s now are. These properties were added to the District.
Q. What does it mean to have a property in the Boneyard Creek District?
A. The Boneyard Creek District is an “overlay district”, which means that there are special rules that “overlay”, or modify, the standard zoning regulations for properties within the district. Due to the sensitive nature of the Boneyard Creek and the flooding issues that can arise from building near the creek, all construction within the Boneyard Creek District requires a Creekway permit. The Creekway permit process is designed to make sure that new construction around the Boneyard Creek does not cause harm to the property in question or to surrounding properties by increasing flood risks, and ensures that the development helps meet the goals of the District.
Q. Are there any benefits to being in the District?
A. Yes! One of the main goals of the Boneyard Creek District is to reduce flood risk by preventing construction of buildings and structures that will make flooding worse. The City understands, however, that this goal (and the Creekway Permit requirements) can limit the usefulness of properties within the District. As a result, the City created special development bonuses for the District to allow more intensive use of the areas that won't add to flooding problems along the creek.
In total, there are six development bonuses that can be applied to properties within the Boneyard Creek District: Development Rights Transfer; Extra Lot Size; Yards; Height; Parking; Mixed Uses. Illustrations for each bonus provision are shown in a downloadable document at the bottom of this page. Full explanations for each bonus can be found in Article XIII-4.F of the Urbana Zoning Ordinance, which can be downloaded at http://urbanaillinois.us/zoning. City staff can also explain the development bonuses.
The following documents illustrate the boundaries of the Boneyard Creek District and 100-year floodplain, as well as the bonus provisions that may be granted to properties within the Boneyard Creek District. Please contact Kevin Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a map of an individual property showing the Boneyard Creek Boundary and 100-year floodplain.