Evanston’s Plan Commission tonight will consider zoning changes that could wipe out hair salons and barber shops at the east end of Howard Street within two years.
Acting on a request from Alderman Ann Rainey, whose 8th Ward includes the area, the commission is scheduled to vote on zoning changes that would turn what are now permitted uses in the district into special uses.
It would also require all existing businesses in the targeted categories to receive approval as special uses or close down within two years.
Rainey, who has been trying for years to eliminate storefront churches from Howard, claiming they are a blight on the neighborhood, now is targeting the 11 hair and nail salons, barber shops and other personal care retail service uses in the stretch of Howard from the CTA station west to Ridge Avenue.
A memo from Dennis Marino, the city’s planning and zoning division manager, says “a multitude of such uses within close proximity to each other may create a negative cumulative effect that deters economic development.”
The proposed regulations would also target psychics, astrologers, Tarot card readers, fortune tellers and spiritualists, although no such businesses currently exist in the area, based on a city business inventory completed last month.
The changes would create a zoning overlay district that follows the boundaries of the existing Howard-Ridge tax increment financing district.
Marino’s memo also claims that a five-year analysis showed that beauty salons and similar businesses were second only to gas stations and convenience stores in the number of police calls by business type in the Howard Street area.
On the other hand, such establishments amount to roughly 20 percent of all businesses in the proposed zoning overlay district, more than any other single category.
The memo also says that Chicago has much more restrictive zoning on its side of Howard Street, which tends to push personal service uses to the Evanston side of the street.
Rainey’s previous campaign against storefront churches has cut their number from seven to four in the past couple of years, mainly through the purchase by the city of the buildings in which the churches were located.
Top: The three hair and nail salons in this block of Howard would be among those affected by the proposed zoning overlay district (Google Street View image.).