Recap: City Council


Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting. A special order of business to consider a plan to lease the lakefront Harley Clarke mansion to a non-profit group has drawn a large crowd to the council chambers tonight.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 8:15 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 8:20 p.m. All aldermen are present.

Mayor’s announcements

Thanks city employees for hard work on storm cleanup last week.

Civilian Complaint Board …  will start the member application process June 28. People will have one month to apply, through the city website.

Presents key to city to outgoing president of Rotary International, John F. Germ.

Parks and Recreation month is next month.

City manager’s announcements

There’s be a fishing derby at Lovelace Park

Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre production of “Sweet” runs weekends July 15-30.

… several other events planned.

Public comment

Mayor says 43 people signed up to speak …45 minutes allocated to it …so each speaker has one minute.

It’s now 8:41 p.m. as public comment starts

Casey Christianson, from League of Women Voters, speaks in favor of ordinance to ban use of coal tar driveway sealants. (At least three other people speak in support of this proposal.)

Keith Kmieciak speaks against the proposed drone ordinance. Says it violates FAA regulations and would subject the city to litigation.

David Staub, president of Central Street Neighbors Association, favors proposal from the Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens group to lease the Harley Clarke mansion. (Several other people speak in favor of leasing Harley Clarke.)

Dick Peach, Evanston Environmental Association, says the Harley Clarke group’s program would be very harmful for the programs at the Ecology Center.

David Campbell, of Parks and Rec board, supports Lakehouse and Gardens group proposal for Harley Clarke. Says to have council object to that is “hurtful to us” who give their time to the city.

David Cantor of pavement sealant industry group says there’s no evidenct that coal tar sealants are harmful.

Bonnie McDonald, president of Landmarks Illinois, says the Lakehouse group has the board strength and fundraising expertise to turn Harley Clarke into a success. (And more people speak in favor of it.)

Manuel Flores, attorney for Sigma Chi, speaks against landmarking of their property at 1726 Hinman Ave. Says it impinges on property owner’s rights.

Rob Mark, pilot and drone educator, says drone ordinance would be almost impossible to enforce.

Jim Kollross speaks in favor of landmarking 1726 Hinman Ave.

Robert Dalrymple says city should get financially involved in the Lakehouse proposal.

Judith McBrian suggests including a Daniel Burnham study center in the Harley Clarke mansion.

Public comment ends at 9:37 p.m.

Special order of business: Harley Clarke

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, introduces the proposal.

Says plan would be fiscally sound and serve the community well.

Says special committee became very enthusiastic about the Lakehouse and Garden Center proposal.

Tom Hodgman who works for The Nature Conservancy, makes presentation for Evanston Lakehouse and Gardens group.

Says the group as of today has $96K in cash and pledges. (Doesn’t say how much is in cash.)

Revelle makes motion to negotiate lease with the Lakehouse group.

Suffredin seconds.

Wilson says he’s in difficult situation. Says sees lots of people he knows. Says it’s a great presentation. Says it’s a special place to him to. But says he represents the whole city. Says past resolution said specific things — -that the mansion would be owned and operated by the city. Directed committee to come up with a plan for how the mansion should be used.

Says it’s a beautiful proposal, from the Lakehouse group. Says the idea of doing the RFP is not to go back to the beginning. Says gave the committee a specific task. We said would be owned and operated by the city. Says the committee doesn’t have the authority to undo the council vote.

For committee to come back and say “we have a tenant” is contrary to what the council directed.

Says doesn’t want to go back to square one.

Says only way to proceed is to issue a request for proposals that’s in line with what Alderman Revelle has presented. Don’t think other groups will come forward. If going to be honest and transparent have 

There are a handful of people who have engaged in baseless personal attacks, Wilson says. Says he’s worked on this for years and years. Put that in the context of we have a city that’s teetering on the brink of big crises — with state on brink of budget collapse. Says city has many priorities.

Fleming says she thinks the report was really great — showed a lot of dedication and understanding. Says direction to the group was to come up with a plan that would identify other non-profits. Ended up with just one group — did other non-profits know? Says definitely want the building to be public. For transparency need to give people an opportunity to make own proposal.

Wilson says city has spent a lot of money to fix up the fog houses — they look beautiful. It’s not like the park is shut down.

Wilson proposes amending Revelle’s motion. Have the city staff prepare a request for proposals that would align with last September’s plan.

Rue Simmons says was really impressed with enthusiasm from the Lakehouse group. Says the whole compound there is absolutely special. Can’t support spending any more city money at this time on Harley Clarke. Says spent $350K on two one-room fog houses that have a very select representation on our communty. Says meanwhile Fleetwood-Jourdain renovations have been pushed aside for three years. Says building there is very active. Says can’t support any more funds going to Harley Clarke — but absolutely want to see the property maintained.

Says Lakehouse board is not the best representation of the entire community — and serving the broader population.

Says hasn’t seen an extrordinary ability to raise the funds. Believes heart is in it. It would be great if could have Shorefront on a floor and Dajae Coleman on a wing. Want to be certain that low and moderate income folks have the opportunity to used it.

Hopes they will come back in the competitive process with a better proposal.

Wynne says very impressed with the proposal — vastly better than what saw before. But process is critically important. Wants to have any new use be educationa.

Wilson say the mayor say that would be too restrictive (might eliminate having a cafe).

Goal is to have a draft RFP for the July 10 City Council meeting

Vote is 7-2 in favor. Suffredin and Revelle vote no. (They wanted to immediately negotiate a lease with the Lakehouse group.)

Consent agenda

New process tonight.

Minutes and Payroll approved.

Bills list. Rue Simmons and Suffredin recuse themselves. Approved.

Remainder of A&PW Committee items read by Alderman Braithwaite

Rainey requests removal of A10 — the drone ordinance — from the consent agenda

Rainey reads the P&D agenda items

Rainey says the generator proposal has been removed from the agenda.

Rainey removes P4 — landmarking 1726 Hinman — from the consent agenda.

Fiske reads Human Services agenda items

Braithwaite requests removal of H1 — the coal tar sealant ban — from the consent agenda

With those exceptions, the consent agenda is approved.

Committee reports…

A 10 – Drone ordinance

Rainey says guy who spoke earlier and said he was involved in training drone operators seemed to be making a lot of sense.

Says she’s not sure the ordinance is needed.

Wynne says someone who called her said a drone had flown very close to her daughter’s head in a city park and the drone pilot became very hostile and started buzzing her with a drone after the mother complained.

Wynne says we’re one of the few communities on the north shore that isn’t regulating drone. Says there isn’t very much federal regulation of drones.

Says she’s had a number of complaints from residents who live in apartment buildings on Main and Chicago who are finding drones outside their apartment windows.

Says radio-controlled airplanes are very heavily regulated.

Says city is taking the right step. Federal government hasn’t taken many steps on this.

Rainey says case you cite is of an obnoxious person.

Fiske says she had questions about the proposal too. Not familiar with the hobbyist. Asks whether prohibit model airplanes in park.

Masoncup says city doesn’t regulate model airplanes in parks.

Fiske says could see kids going out with Mom and Dad and playing in the park with a drone — and then they’d be told that’s not allowed and they’d get a ticket.

Fiske says she hasn’t had any calls about the problem at all. Says would rather have more information

Wynne moves to hold for next meeting. Braithwaite seconds. So it’s held.

P 4 – 1726 Hinman landmarking

Rainey votes to table until Aug. 14 meeting.

H 1 – Coal-tar pavement sealer ban

Braithwaite says wanted more info from staff — any economic impact — what’s the cost for substitutes?

Wynne says neither the city or the school districts use it and it’s not sold in retail outlets here.

Public Works Director Dave Stoneback says some commercial sealant firms may still use it — buying it from a wholesale distributor. Says would enforce by requiring a free registration of firms doing pavement sealing.

Vote it unanimous to introduce the ordinance.

Call of the wards

Rainey … Aug 2 … 1st community meeting with City of Chicago regarding complete renovation of street scape on Howard at Levy Center at 7p.

July 18 … burmmel park…concernt and food truck fest.

Fleming … referral to city manager … seeks reporte to A&PW on Evanston residency reference or requirements for hiring. Also examine ex-offender hiring policy

Council votes to go into executive sesison.

Public meeting adjourned at 10:56 p.m.

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