MWRD rejects access road plan

A photo of the wooded area, with a rendering of the proposed access road.

A developer's plan to build an access road from Isabella Street in Evanston to a development site in Wilmette was thwarted today when the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board voted unanimously to reject the proposal.

Evanston Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, who attended the MWRD board meeting, says more than a dozen Evanston residents spoke against the plan, arguing that the oak trees on the property, which is owned by the MWRD and leased to Evanston, should be preserved.

Eleanor Revelle.

Isabella Street forms the boundary between Evanston and Wilmette for most of its length, but at this point, just east of the CTA Purple Line tracks, the municipal boundary is about 300 feet north of the road.

The Keefe Family Trust, which owns the landlocked parcels in Wilmette -- which formerly were owned by the bankrupt Milwaukee Road railroad and a private orphanage -- had offered to create a nature park adjacent to the road as an inducement for granting the easement, but Evanston city officials rejected that last fall.

Property owner Joe Keefe, speaking at a neighborhood meeting last fall.

But the MWRD had the authority to override the city's lease on the property, and Revelle told aldermen Monday night that she was not optimistic about blocking the road, because the agency had recently lost an expensive court fight over an access easement in downtown Chicago.

Related stories

Aldermen vote against access road (5/16/17)

Effort to block Wilmette development continues (5/15/17)

Path to development sought through Evanston (11/4/16)

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