Evanston aldermen Monday voted unanimously to oppose a plan to build an access road along the CTA tracks for a planned subdivision north of Isabella Street in Wilmette.
Wendy Pollock, co-chair of the city's Environment Board, said the land involved, which is owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, contains a grove of oak trees and that the swampy land provides an important water retention function after storms.
Carl Bova and Linda Damashek joined Pollock in speaking against the proposal.
Bova suggested that if the road went through, Evanston might have to upgrade its stormwater system to account for the lost rainwater storage capacity. Damashek bemoaned the possible loss of the natural serenity the wooded area provides.
While Isabella forms the boundary between Evanston and Wilmette for most of its length, at this location the municipal boundary is about 300 feet north of the roadway, so the parcel that the road would cross is in Evanston.
The MWRD has leased the land to the city, but a provision of the lease gives the MWRD the authority to build a road there.
Alderman Eleanor Revelle, whose 7th Ward includes the site, said it wasn't clear whether the MWRD, which was asked by the county highway department to approve the access road, would go along with the city's request to reject the plan.
Revelle said the MWRD recently lost "a huge lawsuit" over an easement for a development in downtown Chicago and may be leery of facing another court challenge demanding access to a property the developer argues is otherwise landlocked.