On the afternoon of Thursday, February 27, CAR members in the western suburbs gathered at Paisans Pizza in Berwyn to hear from local and state-wide professionals about the upcoming year ahead. Discussions focused on government affairs, an update from MRED and IDOT, and an overview of the upcoming year for the city of Berwyn. Here are the major themes from the event in case you missed it!
Local Issues to Keep an Eye On
Adriann Murawski, director of government affairs for the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, kicked-off the event by sharing two pieces of legislation in the Chicago area to know: the Just Housing Amendment and the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO).
Murawski reminded attendees about the Just Housing Amendment that took effect earlier this year. This amendment was put in place to help prohibit discrimination, and now requires a two-step tenant screening process: a background screening followed by a criminal background check.
She then shared insight into the ARO. The Mayor’s Inclusionary Housing Task Force was developed at the end of last year to suggest improvements to the ordinance. ARO requires residential developments that receive city financial assistance or involve city-owned land to provide a percentage of units at affordable prices to create more affordable housing options in the city. While CAR was not selected for the task force, we are hosting a focus group to provide our stance and insights to the city.
What’s New with MRED
David Ferrel, broker outreach manager of MRED, shared platform updates, some of which are already in place and some that are soon to come. These include:
- Alexa Voice Assistant Access: Through your Amazon Echo, you can now ask Alexa to access your MLS data to get all the statistics you need before starting your day.
- Auto Population: When you upload photos of a home into MRED, the platform will now be able to recognize rooms for you, such as bathrooms and the kitchen! This is not in full effect yet, but it will be coming your way soon!
- Homesnap Phase Two: This phase of Homesnap will let REALTORS® send and allow clients to go through the advanced search options, which was previously only available to REALTORS®. You can then see what your clients are searching for to help you better serve them in their housing search.
A Look at the Next Six Years of Roadwork
Steve Travia, the engineer of project implementation for IDOT, discussed the $1.2 billion annual budget IDOT passed for the next six years, as well as the west suburb projects that will fall under this budget. About 10 projects will be taking place, from pedestrian ramp additions and standard overlays on Cermak Road and Central Avenue, to a complete rebuild of I-80 in Will County. For a full list of upcoming projects, click here.
The Year Ahead for the City of Berwyn
Anthony Nowak, the 8th Ward Alderman of Berwyn and broker at Century 21 Affiliated, shared local housing insights. He discussed the increase in home sales last year in the city, particularly on the north side of town, as well as how the city has been and will continue to see more development popping up.
The Administrative Manager of Berwyn Claudia Ayala then shared information about the 2020 Census and the importance of participating. Initial outreach for the Census will begin in mid-March, and there will be three ways to complete the questionnaire, via the physically mailed form, online or via phone.
Ayala discussed the importance of everyone being counted because, on average, a city will lose $1,400 a year for each individual that does not get counted. The Census and its results also help to determine how to allocate resources such as community programs and public safety grants. For more information on the upcoming Census, click here.