Recap: Planning and Development Committee

1726 Hinman Ave., in a 2007 Cook County Assessor's Office photo.

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

The meeting was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

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

Just two items on the agenda tonight -- a proposal to landmark a building at 1726 Hinman Ave. and a proposal to amend portions of the city zoning code regarding generators.

Meeting called to order at 7:40 p.m.

Minutes approved.

P 1 - Amendments to generator regulations in zoning code.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, asks whether mechanical noise limits would apply.

Community Development Director Johanna Nyden says yes they would.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says he's concerned about permanently installed generators -- like at hospitals -- says large institutional structures might not be able to make modifications to have the setbacks. Wants to only include portable generators.

Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, says she shares Wilson's concerns.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said she thought it should apply to residential districts. Says many people, for health reasons, need to always have power available in the house. Says they're like air conditioner units should be treated similarily. Says usage is likely to be short term -- just during a power failure.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she's got a problem with generators being tested -- often run for a half hour or so once a week.

On motion of Wilson and Rue Simmons the vote is to hold the issue in committee.

P2 - Landmark Status for 1726 Hinman

Representatives of the property owner, Sigma Chi, ask for delay.

Deputy City Attorney Michelle Masoncup says since the issue has been held once it can't be held again (although it could be tabled).

Hal Morris, attorney for owner, says case arises in very unsual manner -- request by a citizen to ask another taxpayer to have their property landmarked and their property rights changed.

Says very high burden for landmarking not met in this case.

Says property has never previously in more than 40 years been identified as historically significant.

Says building is not representative of a style and architect is not historically important.

Says costss to restore the building are impossible for a charitable owner.

Says is willing to sell the building for $1 to the city and share in the costs of relocating the it.

Scott Hesner, architect for owner, says Colonial Revival architecture requires facade symmetry and a rectilinear plan and centered entrances, roofs of slate tile or asphalt shingles.

Says Nyden's house differs from the standards of Colonial Revival architecture -- none of the facades have symmetry ... all the facades violate other principles.

Says Nyden was productive but not a noteworthy architect.

Says would cost $3.2 million to restore the structure -- not including accessibility or structural issues.

Jim Kollross, the applicant requesting the landmark designation, says architectural historians he's consulted say the house is significant.

Says its a really nice house that should be saved.

Claims Nyden is a famous architect.

Claims the building could be renovated for under $400K

Several residents speak in favor of landmark status

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says would like to see what alternatives the property owners can come up with.

Fiske says she's rather keep it in committee.

But is told by city attorney that can only hold it once and that's been done already.

Motion to move the issue to City Council for introduction is approved unanimously.

P&D meeting adjourned at 8:48 p.m.

Rules Committee postponed until June 26.

City Council to start about 9 p.m.



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