City Council members are scheduled to vote Tuesday evening on a proposal to eliminate the ban on new billboards in Evanston.
Permitting new billboards was initially proposed in January by Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) as a way to generate new revenue for property owners and licensing fees for the city.
Suffredin’s referral was prompted by a request from Patrick Fowler, owner of the Firehouse Grill on Chicago Avenue, that he be allowed to construct a billboard facing the CTA tracks on the back of his building
The billboard proposal has drawn the unanimous opposition of the city’s Land Use Commission.
The commissioners say the city’s comprehensive plan rejects creation of new billboards in the city and that it calls for elimination of the few legally-nonconforming billboards that exist.
The commission also claims billboards would not be compatible with the overall character of existing development in the city.
But in response to Suffredin’s request and some support from other council members at a Planning and Development Committee meeting in June, city staff has prepared a draft ordinance to allow billboards as a special use in any zoning district when a property is within 1,000 feet of a passenger train line.
The staff memo suggests the council could choose other distance limits, with several options shown on a map prepared by city staff.
If the proposed ordinance is approved for introduction on Tuesday, it could win final approval at the Council’s Oct. 10 meeting.