A city staff committee approved plans for a 16-unit affordable housing development on Dempster Street Wednesday, setting up a second vote next month at City Council about funding the project.

At Wednesday’s Design and Project Review Committee a few tweaks to the original plan were outlined, including using a different color and size of brick on the exterior. The essential elements remain the same. 

Preliminary plans for the same development had won the committee’s approval in August.

The three-story building proposed for the corner of Dempster Street and Pitner Avenue, would provide eight one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom units for families. The building is being developed by Housing Opportunities for Women for renters who make between 30 and 50 percent of area median income.

Some neighbors have sharply opposed the project, and three spoke against the proposal Wednesday. 

Ray Friedman

Ray Friedman said his concerns include constructing an apartment building in a neighborhood of one and two story single family homes. Darlene Cannon, who also lives near the proposed site, says low income housing needs to be distributed equitably around Evanston and not concentrated in one area.

DAPR committee members say the proposal is allowed under the R5 zoning of the property and can be built as of right.

But funding for the development is another issue.

Britt Shawver, head of the non-profit developer, hasn’t given up on getting the city to help pay for the project.

Last month Evanston aldermen rejected her request for $550,000 — about 10 percent of the project cost — on a 3-5 vote.

Shawver says she plans to head back to City Council next month and hopes to change the minds of some aldermen.

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  1. Public Comment
    Seems public comment holds no weight on this one – there were lots of valid points raised that this is not the best location for this project. Were any other locations under consideration?

    1. Location

      Hi Elizabeth,

      It’s not a developer’s responsibility to find the “best” location for a project — only one that meets the zoning code — which this site does.

      If a site doesn’t meet the zoning code, then there’s a complicated process to try to change the zoning. And in that case the city is free to choose not to approve a change for the project.

      OTOH, the city doesn’t have to provide financial assistance to this project — and that’s where the neighbors may still have leverage.

      — Bill


  2. 2215 Dempster
    We, the neighbors of this project are 100% in favor of affordable housing. the idea and design of this building is fine FOR ANOTHER LOCATION, our location would only allow for a two story bldg. (according to our zoning ordinance). they just chose the WRONG location to put it in. THAT location for THAT building would be a nightmare. for parking, traffic access & flow, ONLY A NARROW alley access to this lot, safety of residents, we were not given proper notice so that we might be able to share our concerns ( before it was presented – and approved ) and YES this property is zoned R5 – BUT…the definition of R5 states, the R5 general general residential district will be used to provide “APARTMENT BUILDINGS THAT CHARACTERIZE THE TRADITIONAL MULTIPLE-FAMILY HOUSING DEVELOPMENT FOUND IN THIS DISTRICT” furthermore – it is very clearly spelled out in the statement of purpose for the DAPR committee. it states the DAPR committee will review proposed developments to “insure they are compatible with adjacent development” WHY WAS THIS NOT DONE ???

    1. Zoning

      Hi Ray,

      For someone who has been so actively involved in opposing this development, it is at the very least disingenuous for you to claim, as you do in your comment, that this location would only allow for a two story building, when the zoning code clearly states that the R5 zone the property is located in permits a building of up to five stories.

      In the R5 zoning district in Evanston there also are numerous other buildings of three to five stories in height. You are trying to argue that because other portions of the block, located in different zoning districts, only permit two-story buildings, that anything taller shouldn’t be permited where under the code it is allowed.

      That kind of logic would result in zoning chaos.

      — Bill

      1. Are you a certified “Liberal”?

        Just to show our true Evanston “colors” lets rezone the Harley Clark property to fit the requirements this building needs.  Now sit back and watch the switchboard light up!

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