Evanston aldermen Monday voted 6-3 to table plans for a 14-story rental development at 1890 Maple Ave. until after the downtown planning process is completed this fall.

Five aldermen, a majority of the council, favor the project and three are opposed. But because of the building’s height, it requires six votes for approval.

The swing vote is held by Alderman Anjana Hansen, 9th Ward, who said at the City Council’s last meeting in June that while 1890 Maple “is a good project with a good design” it would be “cheating residents” to approve a new development while the downtown planning process is underway.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, who proposed that the development be tabled, said, “It would be a crime for the council to vote this down. It’s a beautiful project that can’t be lost.”

Ald. Rainey also said she has learned that several grocery chains are interested in the project’s ground floor retail space, and that among those interested is Trader Joe’s, a company city officials have been trying to lure to town for years.

The plannning process is the key issue, she said. “Let the charrettes happen and see where we go from there. If the results are that this project cannot go forward, we’ll take it off the table and defeat it. If it looks like a go, then we’ll take it off the table and pass it.”

Aldermen Moran, Wollin and Wynne voted against move to table the plan. 

The developer of the 1890 Maple Project, Robert King of Carroll Properties, wasn’t at the council meeting for the vote.

The rental project had won unanimous backing from the city’s Plan Commission, which last year rejected Mr. King’s 18-story 1881 Oak Ave. condominium project next door, a project that the council ultimately approved.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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