Recap Planning and Development Committee

A rendering of the planned home at 2626 Reese Ave.

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 6:45 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:54 p.m. Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward is chair.

Minutes approved.

P 1 - Major zoning relieve for 2626 Reese Ave.

Several neighbors speak in opposition to the proposal.

Developer speaks in favor of the proposal.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, asks what's the sale price would be. Developer says may get $200 to $250 per square foot. But says difficult to predict the sale price.

Total price might be $400K to $500K.

Wilson says strong inclination is to make possible to build something on the lot. Says city has been working toward trend of considering more affordable housing on small lots. But doesn't think this amounts to affordable -- not quite comfortable supporting that.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says the not-for-profits have shown that affordable housing isn't affordable.

Developer says paid $75K for the lot.

Johanna Leonard, community development director, says variances are available.

Rainey says if neighbor next door buys the lot and going to combine it with his existing, then will build a much bigger house at much higher price.

Rainey says with cost of construction just aren't going to see small single-family affordable homes built. Affordable housing is very expensive. That's why you need subsidies.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1sst Ward, asks about zoning theory. Says none of the lots in the neighborhood are consistent with the current zoning.

Asks whethere theory was that existing lots would be combined into bigger lots?

Says she's concerned about having R1 zoning in this neighborhood at all.

Scott Mangum, zoning administrator, says he doesn't know why it was zoned the way it was in 1993.

Revelle said she's walked around the site and says there are a lot of these substandard lots in the neighborhood, a lot of 25 foot wide lots and three-foot side yards. Says they look similar in the side yard setbacks that what this proposal is.

Says she's comfortable with the proposed side yard setbacks. Says curent proposal is a smaller house than what was proposed before.

Concerned though about storm water runoff issue.

Says do want to build on smaller lots -- if not truly affordable at least option for starter home that many families would find attractive.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says neighbors have a lot of serious concerns. Shouldn't repeat things that wouldn't do again. Concerned about side yard setback and drainage issue.

Says perhaps should deem some such small lots unbuildable.

It's a very nice house but not for this lot.

Rue Simmons says she's opposed to the plan.

Wilson says maybe end up with three 300SF "tiny homes" -- might get something you hadn't expected.

Dave Stoneback, public works director, says he's not familiar with the water table in this area. But if build a basement below the water table will have a sump pump running constantly.

Wilson suggests should require a water table study.

Developer says water table varies from property to property, also by time of year.

Fiske says are encouraging small houses on smaller lots.

Fiske says there was a huge water problem on the Kendall site. Asks Stoneback for details.

Stoneback says at Kendall there was a relief sewer that could take the capacity and developer got the permit from the MWRD. Says its the only situation where that has been approved and it involved 18 homes.

Suffredin says the house is too big for the lot. Says doesn't know what could be built on it.

Motion to vote to introduce the proposal and send to council fails 6-1. Rainey votes in favor of it.

P 2 - Special use for service station and convenience store at 140 Chicago Ave.

Rainey says she's totally in support of it. Will be complete new construction. Will be fabulous, she says.

For introduction and action ... approved unanimously.

Meeting adjourned at 8;16 p.m.

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