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Recap: City Council

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Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting at which aldermen voted to raise garage parking rates and approved zoning amendments to encourage the construction of coach houses in the city.

A hot issue at public comment is expected to be demands that the city rehire Kevin Brown, the former director of the youth and young adult program.

The meeting now is scheduled to start about 8:30 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 8:45 p.m. Aldermen Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, and Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward are absent.

Mayor Steve Hagerty says Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, has asked to resign from the Council’s reparations subcommittee. Says he’ll ask aldermen at their first meeting in January to decide whether to name another alderman or other persons to the committee.

Interim City Manager Erica Storlie says there will be a public meeting on cannabis regulations at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Civic Center.

Dave Stoneback, public works director, makes presentation on  stormwater management. Says city plans to hire consultant to conduct a two-year study of the needs. Says may impose new tax — based on area of impervious surface on a property — to fund preventive measures.

Public Comment

Mayor says about 30 people have signed up for public comment, so each gets 1-minute-30 to complete public comment in 45 minutes.

Jevoid Simmons speaks in favor of rehiring Kevin Brown.

Other speakers call for rehiring Brown.

Public comment ends.

Fleming moves to draft resolution supporting the reinstatement of Kevin Brown.

Mayor says it’s out of order. And not on the agenda. Suffredin seconds.

Mayor says personnel matters are decided by the city manager.

Corporation Counsel Michelle Masoncup says resolution in support of an individual’s rehiring would interfering with the role of the city manager in controlling personnel decisions.

Fleming says council should still be able to give the city manager guidance.

Masoncup says if council addressed the issue would be trying to undo the city’s council-manager form of government.

Fleming thanks people for coming out to support Kevin Brown.

SP1 – Approval of 2020 City Council meeting schedule

Approved.

SP2 – Workplace considerations for cannabis

Masoncup says state is still working out details, plans to bring proposal back in February.

Fleming says she wouldn’t support zero tolerance for staff in general (but perhaps for public safety employees).

Wants report on how many people tested for suspicion of being under the influence of marijuana.

Sees inconsistency between a zero tolerance policy and the city taking money from marijuana sales for reparations.

Masoncup says personnel actions are likely to be based more on behaviors rather than test results.

Consent agenda

Off consent …

  • A2 – Amazon credit card activity
  • A6 – Parking garage rate increase.
  • A7 – Phoenix Security contract for guards at civic center
  • A17 – Referendum for non-partisan elections 
  • A25 – Parking tax increase at Sherman Plaza garage
  • A26 – Lincoln Street resident only parking district
  • A37 – Liquor license class for Welsh-Ryan arena
  • P2 (was held in committee)
  • P3 – Accessory dwelling unit requirements

Consent agenda approved 8-0. (Alderman Braithwaite arrived just before the vote.)

A2 – Amazon credit card activity

Approved 7-0-1. Suffredin abstains.

A6 – Parking garage rate increase.

Approved 6-2. Suffredin and Fleming vote no.

A7 – Phoenix Security contract for two security guards at Civic Center

Rainey moves. Braithwaite seconds.

Approved 7-1. Suffredin votes no.

A17 – Referendum for non-partisan elections

Rainey says Jeff Smith argued (at A&PW Committee meeting earlier this evening) that this measure doesn’t really address some of the issues around petition filing for elections.

Suggests having one special meeting of City Council between now and Dec. 31 when have to file this referendum question.

Masoncup says have two options. Could pass the resolution and address the petition deadlines later — putting that issue on the ballot for next November.

Or could put both — non-partisan elections and the petition deadlines — on ballot next November.

Clerk Devon Reid says petition circulating will have to begin before November.

Hagerty says ran into issues around petition filing and election schedule in 2017.

Wilson says wants to act on the referendum issue now. But if that referendum fails, then could end up with another mess.

Says clerk’s point is well taken.

Reid says if voters choose to hold partisan elections that won’t affect the mayoral primary issue, set up by a separate referendum that called for a mayoral primary if there are two or more candidates.

Masoncup says the filing periods are determined by whether the municipality has nonpartisan or partisan elections.

Reid says the 1992 referendum setting up a mayoral primary established the different filing period for mayor.

Reid says could put a new referendum on the ballot to repeal the result of the 1992 mayoral primary referendum.

Reid says he favors a plan that would have everybody run in the primary and then if nobody gets 50% of the vote, then there’s a runoff.

Wilson says should do the nonpartisan part first.

Wynne says just solving one of the two problems would help a lot.

Wilson says if don’t act tonight on the non-partisan referendum questions and then can’t get quorum for a special meeting later this month the Council would not be able to make any progress on the either issue in time for the next local election in 2021.

Resolution approved 7-1. Suffredin votes no.

Fleming requests special meeting Rainey seconds on the filing deadlines and/or mayoral primary issue.

Approved on voice vote.

City manager will come up with an acceptable date for the special meeting.

A25 – Parking tax increase at Sherman Plaza garage

Moved for introduction.

Fiske ask how it applies to Sherman Plaza residents. Storlie says doesn’t apply to them because they own their individual parking spaces, aren’t renting from the city.

Approved 6-2. Suffredin and Fleming vote no.

A26 – Lincoln Street resident only parking district

Would add 2200 block of Lincoln to the district

Suffredin says its not fair to Evanston residents who have to drive to the Metra by pushing commuter parking farther and farther from the train.

Approved 5-3, Fiske, Suffredin and Rainey vote no.

A37 – Liquor license class for Welsh-Ryan arena

Revelle proposes two amendments.

First would eliminate the “end of event” deadline to cease for sales at some events and have the deadline be 30 minutes before the end of the all events.

Wilson says you can’t predict when a game’s going to end.

Suffredin seconds Revelle’s motion.

Revelle suggests NU officials are OK with the change she’s proposing.

Amendment approved 6-2. Fiske and Braithwaite vote no.

Second, Revelle proposes limiting liquor sales to two items per person per transaction.

Wilson seconds.

Amendment approved 7-1. Fiske votes no.

On the ordinance as amended Wynne, Suffredin, Revelle and Fleming vote no.

Mayor votes yes to break tie. Approved 5-4.

P3 – Accessory dwelling unit requirements

Was amended in committee to eliminate the Plan Commission imposed height restriction. That would have required coach houses to not be taller than the primary dwelling on the lot — making coach houses impossible to construct on most lots with single-story homes.

Related story.

Revelle recuses herself, because she’s a member of the Evanston Development Cooperative.

Approved 7-0-1. Revelle abstains.

Call of the Wards

Wilson… 1509 Ridge St. Mark’s Church meeting on Thursday Dec. 19 7p.m., to discuss planned development across the street.

Revelle makes two references.

Rainey … 8th Ward meeting at Levy Center on Jan 14 regarding how to get a cannabis license in Evanston. General 8th Ward meeting on Jan 28.

Fleming .. Friday 6-9 p.m., holiday party and coat drive at St. Nicks.

Fiske … makes referral to Rules Committee regarding resolutions generated by citizens not connected to any business before the Council. Says she’s open to resolutions asked for by state and national officials. But last two resolutions “are nothing that we have any jurisdiction over,” she says. Nuclear arms and compassionate care in dying are two issues she mentions. Doesn’t want to spend staff time and staff dollars on such items.

Council votes to go into executive session.

Public meeting adjourned at 11:05 p.m.

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