Recap: City Council


A rendering of the senior housing development.

Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting. The aldermen considered revisions to the reparations committee, introduced plans for a senior housing development on Howard Street and considered dozens of other items.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:35 p.m. A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 8:40 p.m.

Mayor makes announcements and proclamations. … including one for National Day of Racial Healing on Jan 21. Related story.

Also 100th anniversary of Zeta Phi Beta sorority (on Jan. 16).

Mayor says have a new “limit timer” for public comment on the podium.

29 people signed up for public comment … so 1:35 is the time limit for tonight.

Here’s the timer at the podium.

Public Comment

Several residents, including State Rep. Robyn Gabel, speak in favor of a “Back from the Brink” anti-nuclear weapons resolution.

Interim City Manager Erika Storlie mentions, in response to a citizen comment, that a new head of the Youth and Young Adult Program for the city will be announced later this week.

Some speakers support proposed ordinance changes to encourage development of accessory dwelling units.

End of public comment at 9:38 p.m.

Special order of business — reparations subcommittee

Mayor Steve Hagerty says its really complex and difficult to come up with solutions for reparations.

Says should be expanded and include somebody with a legal background, who have background in areas where may be looking to make investments with the program.

Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, says she agrees — says legal staff should be involved. Says has had contact with others in advisory role.

Agrees will need experts from several different national organizations that work on diversity and inclusion and the racial wealth gap.

But wants a working group that can take the feedback from the community and have some action.

Says has recommended a couple of people for appointment.

Mayor asks do want to have only people in the community on the committee?

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says this is all new to us. Says wants to get policy in place by September — when funds should be arriving from the cannabis tax.

Suggests NU professor Alvin Tillery.

Alderman Ann Rainey 8th Ward, said at last meeting the committee discussed expanding topics for the committee. Talks about adding health care equity as an issue.

Suggests somebody with mortgage background and somebody with fundraising experience — to gather more funds from banks and schools, etc.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, suggests adding Braithwaite to the committee.

Rue Simmons says have been doing outreach to find needed experts as they go. Suggests keep the committee itself small.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, suggests Tillery could be a great resource in finding other experts.

Says doesn’t know that city law department has time to work on the issue. Suggests maybe the ACLU could participate, or law schools with professors interested in the subject.

Mayor says sounds like the idea of three aldermen — Rue Simmons, Rainey and Braithwaite — seems like a good one. But says need to have a lawyer in the core.

Michelle Masoncup says the city law department doesn’t have the expertise or bandwidth to handl the project. Says would appreciate it a great deal if the ACLU could provide help.

Mayor says might later in the process seek outside counsel to represent the citiy.

Motion to add Braithwaite to the committee is approved.

Consent agenda

Off consent

A2 – Amazon credit card activity

A4 – City manager search firm

A21 -1829 Simpson (was held in committee)

P1 – Condo moratorium on deconversions

P2 – 2008 Harrison (not taken up by committee)

P3 – Born2Win special use, 2510 Green Bay.

P4 – Planned development setbacks in residential districts

P7 – Accessory dwelling units

Suspension of rules for immediate adoption for:

A25 –  Surplus Property

P6 – Daycare at 1012-1014 Davis

Consent agenda approved.

Individual items

A2 – Amazon credit card activity — Approved 7-0-1 Suffredin abstains

A4 – City manager search firm — Approved 6-2. Suffredin and Fleming vote no.

P1 – Condo moratorium on deconversions

Amended in committee to be 3 month rather than 6 months on tie vote

Rainey .. .sez city saved people from problems in the ’80s when city got involved in making condo laws.

Says problems heard two weeks ago aren’t unique.

Says people are terrified that will lose homes for less than what they’re worth. Have to have some protection for people who don’t want to sell their units.

Wilson says there are protections in place — requires a 75% vote. Says there are real concerns to take into account, but while working those out shouldn’t act in a way that will harm people that are in the midst of the process now.

Rainey says then maybe they shouldn’t be subject to the moratorium.

Wilson — but that’s not how it’s drafted — it makes it a bright line rule.

Moratorium fails on 5-3 vote. Yes votes were Rue Simmons, Revelle and Rainey.

P3 – Born2Win special use, 2510 Green Bay.

Fleming says she plans to abstain because she works in that building.

Approved 7-0-1.

P7 – Accessory dwelling units

Revelle says she will abstain because she’s an EDC member

Approved 7-0-1.

Call of the Wards

Braithwaite — makes reference for compassionate death resolution .. to City Council on Jan 27.

Erika Storlie notes Rules Committee at 6 p.m. next Tuesday

Wynne… town hall meeting on Thursday, Jan  23 at Lincoln School at 6:30p

Wilson .. ice is open at Crown Center …very exciting to see how excited kids and families are to experience their new community center.

Revelle .. 7th Ward meetings, Thursday, 1/16 in Parasol Room, re event-based resident only parking restrictions around NU athletic campus. And Thursday, Jan 23, at Ecology Center another ward meeting

Rainey … meeting at Levy Center Tuesday on cannabis licensing … 7:30 p.m.

Fleming … Ward meeting Wednesday 7 p.m. Would support a racial equity audit for the city.

Council votes to go into executive session and public meeting ends at 10:24 p.m.

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