Recap: Planning and Development Committee

Here's a recap of our live coverage of this evening's Evanston City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 7:19 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Public Comment

(Several speakers on inclusionary housing, which is not on the agenda tonight.)

Jay Smith, NU student involved with Connections for the Homeless, speaks to need for senior housing. 

Mark Dennis, executive director of McGaw YMCA, says 172 men live at the Y. Says that has provided service for the community.

Says need to have conversation about what should be available with developers. need to look at best practices in other cities, says Evanston has strong housing market -- but people may fear damage to existing housing values -- says need to keep diversity and inclusion as part of Evanston housing market.

Brendan Saunders, of Open Communities, calls for "carrot and stick" approach to inclusionary housing. Says should consider more bonuses -- density bonuses, floor area ratios, expedited permits, and other incentives including coach houses and garage units and barrier free housing.

Sue Loellbach, acting director of Connections for the Homeless, says ordinance is a small step, but a solid first step to encourage inclusionary housing. Says ordinance could be better by providing more benefits to developers.

(Ordinance is on the agenda for the next committee meeting on June 8. Community Development Director Mark Muenzer says staff is investigating many of the ideas for improvements suggested by speakers tonight.)

P1 - Drone Moratorium

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says a lot has happened at federal and state level regarding publi safety and privacy aspects of drones.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says what we're doing is terminating the local moratorium -- and relying on state and federal regulation.

Moratorium, by its own terms, expires at the end of this month. By taking no action, other than filing the report, the moratorium will be allowed to expire.

P2 - Extension of time for planned development at 318-20 Dempster. Approved.

P3 - Zoning relief regarding parking spaces at 1719-1723 Howard St.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she's opposed ot the use at the location -- but it's allowed.

Nobody has more affordable housing or social services than the 8th Ward does -- says has worked for many years to create a balance of all economic groups -- believes placing another federal health clinic -- won't be a good thing.

Bernard Citron, lawyer for Access Community Health Network, a federally qualified health center. Says needs to expand existing facility on Clark in Rogers Park. Says are part of training program for St. Francis. Says 74 percent of patients at existing center come from Evanston.

Says only asking for four fewer parking spaces than required by code. Says have arranged to have staff take shuttle bus from St. Francis and park there. Says half of clients take bus to the facility.

Rainey says the's OK with the parking situation now, but doesn't approve of the use. Says disputes claim that majority of patients are from Evanston. Says will support the Zoning Board of Appeals recommendation.

Approved unanimously.

P4 and/or P5 - Re-subdivision of NU campus

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Grover says she supports staff resolution.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she favors the Preservation Commission's recommendation. Says the commission handles NU requests expeditiously and with concern. Says appearance of Sheridan Road has always been a big concern -- one of the historic drives through the city. Says doesn't think that advisory review will be enough and that she trusts the Preservation Commission.

Rainey suggests making sure that preservation staffer, Carlos Ruiz, is on the staff committee reviewing the proposals.

Community Development Director Mark Muenzer says Ruiz would be on it. Says can make him a voting member for these issues, that change could be part of another ordinance the council may get at its first June meeting.

Grover says staff recommendation includes city preservation staff, requires input from Preservation Commission. (Notes that even a "binding" review by the commission can be overridden by the City Council.) Says it preserves Sheridan Road's outward-facing appearance.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, seconds the staff recommendation.

Approved 6-1. Fiske votes no.

Meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 8:15 p.m.

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