Example of Improving the Development Process

For those of you able to stay awake until the end of the City Council meeting on Tuesday, there was an interesting comment during the call of the wards. In addressing development, Alderman Ann Rainey (8th) explained how a planned development at Dobson and Ridge is progressing. She went on to explain that when she learned of the pending development, the developer was asked to do a zoning analysis. She then scheduled a meeting between the developer and the neighbors. The neighbors had a chance to discuss concerns and the developer took their ideas into consideration. Later, she scheduled a second meeting between the developer and the neighborhood where the developer presented new plans based on neighborhood input. Many of the neighbors concerns were addressed in the revised plans.

Optima neighbors' views on views

Neighbors of the proposed new Optima Promenade project at 1515 Chicago Ave. are understandably disappointed that views they have enjoyed for years from their apartments are now threatened.

But that disappointment is no reason for city officials to block the development.

A senseless waste of taxpayers' dollars

Evanston taxpayers are under a mistaken impression that their hard-earned dollars are being spent to ensure community security or to improve their general quality of life.

They wonder why it is so hard to find money to protect diseased elm trees, control crime or rehab Robert Crown Center, etc.

City may be taking a correct step in the development process

This Friday the City recieved proposals for an "Urban Design" approach to the 5th ward TIF area. While I have not reviewed the proposal it appears the city maybe taking a small step in the right direction. On the night they passed the TIF I spoke at the hearing that they needed to take this approach. That is the City needed to understand what they want to develop in the area in regards to mass and density.

Right of way

Each day, I walk across downtown Evanston to work and back – between Wesley and Chicago, along Church or Davis. I cross a lot of intersections and wait for a lot of lights.

Evanston should be pedestrian-friendly. Kids walk to school; commuters rush for train and bus; dogs take their owners on a twice-daily tour of their neighborhood. On nice days, everyone heads to the park or the lakefront.

1613 Church St.: What happens next?

The Planning and Development Committee of the City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. to consider the revised planned development proposed for 1613 Church Street. YOUR PRESENCE IS IMPORTANT. PLEASE COME TO THE P & D MEETING! The final proposal is likely to go to City Council on April 10 for adoption. (View the latest, and most recent previous site plans.)

Saturday meeting on 1613 Church

Ald. Jean Baptiste met with Joan Safford, Mary McWilliams and Jerry Kaup on Saturday morning, March 25.

Ald. Jean-Baptiste reported that, according to the City Legal Department, the Council could rezone the 1613 Church St. property to R-4 without the project going back to the Plan Commission. He also reported that, after the developers’ Friday meeting with Marty Stern, the developers could make the following changes, while maintaining the same “price points” ($360,000 to $427,000):

Reasons for opposing 1613 Church St. rezoning

March 13, 2006
Evanston Planning and Development Committee
Statements of the Church Street neighbors in opposition to rezoning of 1613 Church St. to R-5 and adoption of a planned development of 41 townhouses with major variations from the zoning ordinance requirements of R-5, as well as the the lower-density zoning of the surrounding neighborhood.

Where is downtown Evanston?

I work in Research Park, at 1840 Oak Avenue. My office is moving to 500 Davis in a few weeks. When told of the move, a co-worker said, “oh good, we’re moving to downtown.”

From my perspective as a newcomer, Oak Avenue and University Place IS downtown Evanston. It’s a block from the Hilton, two blocks from a huge city parking lot, three blocks from the movie theatre, Wolfgang Puck, both train stations, etc.