Recap: Planning and Development Committee


Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.

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

Only two items are on the committee's agenda — a special use request to redesign the parking lot at Ryan Field … and a discussion of a possible new neighborhood plan for the north end of downtown.

Meeting called to order at 7:20 p.m. Minutes approved.

P 1 – Ryan Field parking lot

Presentation from Northwestern … Charles Davidson, project manager.

Says parking lot has deteriorated and has no drainage.

Project, he says, will provide ADA accessibility, improved pedestrian access and landscaping.

Now 884 parking stalls, will have 899 afterward.

Says will have stormwater detention and rain garden in middle of lot with extensive landscaping around the perimeter. 30 foot setback along Central Street. 35 foot setback along Isabella. Improved parkway and sidewalk along Ashland Avenue. Landscaping along alley.

John D'Angelo, vice-president of facilities management, at NU.

Says original plan had 1-foot-candle lighting level. Says now plan to reduce to a minimum of .3-foot-candles at the alley side. Will reduce to .1-foot-candles with dimmers. Also reducing on the Ashland Avenue side to .5-foot candles … with dimming down from there. Also reducing height of light poles.

Also planning to add ornamental fence along alley side (similar to one planned for Isabella along Rocky Miller field.

Says will work with the city regarding possible paving of alley.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, considering help pay for paving the alley?

Yes, he says.

DiAngelo says the alley requires drainage improvements — need to discuss those with city staff and the MWRD.

Laurie McFarland, one of the neighbors, says so greatful for partnership developed with Northwestern. Says was long, drawn-out process, starting in January.

We've always wanted to have an open conversation, she says. Praises Alderman Revelle for helping arrange meetings with city staff and NU.

Says now over 90 percent of the neighbors are thrilled with what's being proposed toay and encourage you to accept it.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, asks about walkway.

McFarland says proposal now would have continuous barrier — no pedestrian access from the west. Concedes there were mixed views about that among the neighbors.

Robert Meltior, 1619 Jenks, says alley should be made one way — to cut down on speeding.

Says buses are idling in the parking lot at all hours. Says its not monitored property, only monitored when residents complain.

Says buses are supposed to be on Ashland not in the lot.

Evie Russell, 1724 Livingston St., worried about water from parking lot possibly entering basements.

Says NU is the only Big 10 school without published tailgating rules.

John Black, 2651 Eastwood, praises NU for listening to residents and modifying the plans. Concerned about plan for permeable water retention vaults. Suggests seeking waiver on that.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she's never seen so many happy neighbors in the room in her life.

Asks more info about alley paving. Heard NU is going to contribute $800K. Will there be special assessment on abutter?

NU rep DiAngelo … answer is right now don't know … need more research to determine cost of the project.

Rainey says she understands the neighbors have no intention of paying their share.

DiAngelo says NU has had to shoulder the burden on some other alleys abutting NU property.

Rainey says she wants the alley issue to go to A&PW before gets approved.

Says she's concerned about financial committment on part of the city.

Says people who want alley to be one way will find that one-way traffic enourages speeding.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, asks about design of the light fixtures

DeAngelo says the figures are self-shielding. Says they don't need the mechanical cutoffs used in the past. Also are "incredibly more sustainable."

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, asks about idling buses. Says have ordinance restricting that.

DiAngelo says he's not in charge of that program. Says now run by the school's chief of police and making major improvements to on-time performance and rule compliance.

Says parking lot project will include a bus turnout along Ashland which should eliminate need to have them park in the lot.

In response to question from Alderman Mark Tendan, 6th Ward, DiAngelo says design of lot is intended to get water back in the ground rather than running off into the sewer system.

Proposal, as revised, is approved unanimously 

Discussion item — North Downtown Area Plan

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says planning to have a special meeting of the Planning and Development Committee on April 18 to begin work on this.

No substantive discussion of it tonight.

Meeting adjourned at 8:04 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 8:10 p.m.



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