Letter to City Council Regarding Chicago Bird-Friendly Design Ordinance


AIA Chicago recently sent a letter to the Chicago City Council sponsors of the proposed Bird Friendly Design Ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance is to establish bird-safe standards for new building construction and substantial building facade renovations. AIA Chicago leadership believes that the expertise of its members can contribute to this process. The letter is included below.

Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward 
Alderman Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward 
Alderman Daniel La Spata, 1st Ward 
Alderman Harry Osterman, 48th Ward 
Alderman Michelle Smith, 43rd Ward 
Alderman Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward 

Dear Alderman: 
AIA Chicago – the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects - and the 3,800 professional members it represents fully support responsible and resilient design practices and regulations. Our organization continually strives to enhance and embrace changes to codes and regulations that aid in creating safe, sustainable, and resilient communities. To this end, AIA Chicago agrees that a Bird Friendly Design Ordinance in Chicago is necessary and appropriate as other cities like Toronto and San Francisco have already implemented.  

AIA Chicago strongly believes that codes need to be comprehensive and more importantly enforceable. As such, we have reviewed the proposed ordinance in detail and tasked our sub-committee the AIA Chicago DOB Working Group to review the provisions of the proposed ordinance. This is the same group that meets monthly with the City of Chicago Department of Buildings and was part of process to adopt the new building code.  
As our group discussed with Grant Ullrich, Deputy Commission of the Department of Buildings, we suggest the following actions to ensure that the ordinance works with other codes currently being adopted, references specifically other applicable codes, and has the proper avenues of review and enforcement: 

1) Create an advisory panel, convened by DOB, to review the ordinance
2) Set a reporting deadline to submit their findings and recommendations
3) Review ordinance revisions with current Zoning & Building codes
4) Enact the ordinance and communicate the protocol for review and enforcement

AIA Chicago and its volunteer membership are ready, willing and able to assist in this process and work with you to create an ordinance that protects birds through responsible design.  

Robert Forest, FAIA
President, AIA Chicago

Zurich Esposito. Hon AIA
Executive Vice President, AIA Chicago

Brett Taylor, AIA
Vice President, Advocacy