Recap: City Council

An image from the Summer Programs Report aldermen will get tonight.

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting. Aldermen will get a report on the city's summer programs, vote on funding programs for the Youth Job Center and the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy and act of three vacation rental licenses.

The meeting is likely to begin around 8 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 8:10 p.m.

Meeting opens with presentation by Parks Department praising performane of Theater on Ice teams.

Mayor makes various announcements.

Mayor notes that budget is not on the agenda tonight ... will be on next meeting's agenda in two weeks.

Says the city faces a budget deficit of more than $7 million for next year. Increasing fees and reducing services to close that gap.

City manager introduces presentation on summer programs.

Lawrence Hemingway, parks director, says number of free beach tokens issues was up five times ... and still had a record year for sales of beach tokens.

Also get presentation on summer programs from the library.

Deputy city clerk makes presentation regarding Hispanic Heritage Month and importance of voting this fall.

Public Comment

Two dozen people have signed up to speak

Christina Ernst, professional dance artist and director Evanston Dance Ensemble, complains about cuts in arts funding.

Lea Pinsky, Evanston artist, concerned about cuts to public arts funding.

Delores Holmes speaks in favor of landmarking the former Foster School.

Pete Giangreco of Friends of Robert Crown says fundraising has moved forward so that can contribute $1M+ more than originally scheduled this year for the Crown Center.

Jim Young, who served 10 years ago on the city's pension committee, urges funding at 6.25% level. Says pension unfunded liablity has increased by about 50 percent over past 10 years. Says each family now owes about $6,500 for it.

Mike Vasilko says city doesn't need to spend money for trees and park design on the agenda tonight.

Doug Sharp, Reclaim Evanston member, says home next to him was bought for $200K, demolished and replaced with one that sold for $700K. 

Dave Winter, also from Reclaim Evanston, wants to make the IHO ordinance even more demanding.

Several other members of Reclaim Evanston also push to make the inclusionary housing ordinance more restrictive than proposed by the committee.

Public comment ends at 9:44 p.m.

Special order of business

Harley Clarke mansion access

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, recommends approving access to the mansion for Preservation Commission members . 

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she's very concerned about the process.

Says Council has made a decision on the MOU.

Says the Preservation Commission's standards are only to address the exterior of the building, but she's OK with letting them see the interior.

Says city has had a Preservation ordinance since 1978, says never has a demolition decision been made based on the interior of buildings.

Says she's concerned that the Plan Commission and Preservation Commission have very specific standards. Doesn't want to expand the perview of a commission without a review by the City Council to change the standards.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says this is a city-owned propert, different than a privately owned property, so he thinks the inspection is OK.

Approved 9-0.

Revelle moves to also grant access to Landmarks Illinois to the building.

Fiske says this is an advocacy group not connected with the city. And says Landmarks Illinois did have access to the building just two years ago and brought in a consultant that prepared a report and put estimated costs on the repairs.

Says she doesn't see that there is a need for them to go back in. Says thinks its inappropriate at this point to allow advocates not connected with the city to participate at this point.

Wilson says we're in the position we're in by a razor thin margin. Saysthere probably have been opportunities over time that might have been available but weren't fully vetted. So he's OK with a small group of vetted individuals to follow up with the prior report.

Says the process will certainly be a lengthy one. And its a result of a lack of options. If there are future options wouldn't want to preclude those.

Fiske says there won't be any new information from this. Says her guess is the commission will vote to deny the certificate of appropriateness. That will leave hte city with the decision to go for a certificate of special merit or eonomic hardship. Then the info Landmarks Illinois might provide would be valuable, but not now, she says.

Fiske, Fleming, Rainey, Braithwate, Rue Simmons vote no ... so resolution fails 5-4.

Consent agenda

Off consent ... 

A 3 - Amazon credit card activity

A 11 - SAFEbuilt funding increase for plan review and building inspection services.

A 26 - Snow routes

P 1 - 1918 Jackson vacation rental ... held in committee

P 5 - 348 Custer variations

P 6 - 2415 Wade variations

P 7 - 2010 Dewey landmark status

Consent agenda approved.

A 3 - Amazon credit card activity

Approved. Suffredin abstains.

A 11 - SAFEbuilt funding increase for plan review and building inspection services.

Fleming asks for more info about the position.

Johana Leonard says the position is different from the one that is being sought to be filled with a new hire for next year.

Says the position has been very difficult to fill.

Approved. Fleming and Suffredin vote no.

A 26 - Snow routes

Approved.

P 5 - 348 Custer variations

Rainey requests suspension of the rules and give final approval tonight

Says rent owner plans to charge is entirely reasonable. Thinks the requirement by staff to make it "affordable" seems unreasonable.

Wilson says he agrees with Rainey.

Amendment approved.

Amended ordinance approved, with suspension of the rules to give final adoption tonight.

P 6 - 2415 Wade variations

Approved. Rue Simmons abstains.

P 7 - 2010 Dewey landmark status

Rue Simmons moves to suspend rules for introduction and aciton.

Motion fails because vote not unanimous.

Vote on introduction is unanimous.

Call of the wards

Rainey ... Wants some pickup trucks identified as cars for parking purposes, if they're used as family vehicles, makes reference to Transportation and Parking Committee.

Fiske says some Preservation Commission members have spoken in favor of the Harley Clarke referendum, hopes they will look at the city's application in an impartial way.

Braithwaite ... Meeting reschedeuled to Tuesday, Oct. 16, budget review at Temperance Brewery.

Wynne ... 3rd Ward town hall at Lincoln School Thursday Oct. 25.

Rue Simmons ... 2nd Wednesday meetings ... this week at Family Focus in the theater.

Revelle ... References this issue Says she and Hagerty spoke to head of MWRD expressing Evanston's opposition to the proposal.

Meeting adjourned at 10:50 p.m.

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