Here’s a recap of our live coverage of the Evanston City Council’s Administration and Public Works Committee meeting. The committee had nearly two dozen items on its agenda this evening, including amendments to the city code to deal with the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana and changes to the Howard Ridge tax increment financing district to clear the way for construction of new subsidized senior citizen housing.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.
(Tonight’s Planning and Development Committee meeting has been cancelled, so the full City Council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.)
Meeting called to order at 6:09 p.m.
Public Comment from Doreen Price and Mike Vasilko.
Consent agenda … approved with the following items removed.
A6 — Prequalification of cured-in-place sewer main rehab firms … off at request of Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward.
She asks for info on MWEBE info.
Dave Stoneback, Public Works Director, says that info will be provided when actual contracts are up for award next year.
Stoneback says to his knowledge no minority or women owned businesses do this specialized work.
Says most firms now comply with the local employment requirements, but ask for a waiver of the minority and women hiring.
A12 — Non-partisan election reverendum … off at request of Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward.
Suffredin says hasn’t been any discussion of the merits of the proposal. Suggests postponing for later discussion. Says if had to vote tonight he would vote no.
Fleming and Rue Simmons voice support for the dela.
Has to be passed by Dec. 30 to get on the ballot.
Says referendum would ratify past practice, but not convinced that’s the best approach
Tabled until the Dec. 9 A&PW meeting.
A13 — Divvy Bicycle Program — off at rquest of Fleming.
Jessica Hyink says Lyft will pickup the cost of the program for this year and for future years as well in the five-year contract. City would get modest revenue if high level of adoption is achieved.
Fleming says she’s opposed to the proposal because don’t have enough bike lanes to make biking safe.
Approved 4-1. Fleming votes no.
A15, A16, A17 — Related to Howard-Ridge TIF disstrict expansion — off at request of Suffredin.
Suffredin says he plans to vote no.
Fleming asks staff for additional documentation.
Approved 4-1. Suffredin votes no.
A21 — Amending city code reference possession of recreational marijuana… off at request of Rue Simmons
Interim City Manager Erika Storlie says the ordinance would just bring city regulations into compliance with state law.
Fleming asks how people will be informed about the new rules
Police Chief Demitrous Cook says will do publicity campaign to inform people
Storlie says will have two public meetings about the rules … with first one in December.
Says consuming pot in a car will still be illegal, so police will still be able to do searches based on smell of pot in a car.
A22 — Lease of 633 Howard to restaurant “Estacion” … off at request of Suffredin.
Rainey says it’s a really important item. Says EDC supported it unanimously on Sept. 25 — should have come to Council in October … but packed agendas.
Says restaurant owners have made major investment, over $100K in new restaurant equipment.
Suffredin says should follow established rules.
Says could introduce it tonight and approve it at the next City Council meeting at Nov. 18.
Paul Zalmezak, economic development manager for the city, says Cafe Coralie owner is still in default, city legal staff is pursuing it. Says it was a disappointing deal.
Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, asks what’s the appraised value of the property.
Zalmezak says doesn’t want to reveal that number publicly because it would interfere with potential sale of the property.
Braithwaite says then why isn’t owner buying the property now.
Owner says requires a large investment to get the restaurant open, so doesn’t want to take on the additional expenditure now.
Braithwaite says he has questions about the structure of the deal.
Owner says delaying opening would put additional financial strain on the business.
Suffredin says have had to bad outcomes from rent to own deals recently, says doesn’t think should rush into a new one.
Rainey says OK to delay final vote to Nov. 18.
So vote is to introduce the item tonight. Unanimous.
A2 – Amazon credit card activity
Approved 4-0-1. Suffredin abstains.
Fleming asks legal for info regarding new state law that ends suspension of drivers licenses for unpaid parking fees. Wants to make sure city rules will match.
Meeting adjourned at 7:02 p.m.
City Council to start at 7:10 p.m.