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Central moratorium extension sought

City staff plan to seek a three month extension of a moratorium on new construction along Evanston’s Central Street corridor.

If approved, the moratorium, now scheduled to end next month, would last until mid-January.

City Zoning Administrator Bill Dunkley told a Zoning Committee meeting this week he needs the extra time to develop the detailed zoning rules called for in the master plan for the area the City Council adopted in July and to give neighbors, the Zoning Committee, the full Plan Commission and the City Council sufficient time to review the changes.

Mr. Dunkley said he will ask the City Council to approve the extension of ban on issuing of new construction building permits at its next meeting, Sept. 24.

The council first imposed the Central Street moratorium over a year ago, for an initial period of six months. It’s already been extended twice, and with the new proposed extension would run 16 months.

Last June, when the council adopted a moratorium for the downtown area, city attorney Herb Hill said that to be valid a moratorium has to be of a "definite, limited, short duration — a temporary review pending analysis."

He said a six-month moratorium would meet the test, but "if they’re going to be temporary, they can’t be for two years."

A moratorium for the Mayfair corridor on Evanston’s west side was allowed to expire after 13 months earlier this year. The council adopted a master plan for that area in May and zoning changes to implement the plan are still under discussion.

Mr. Dunkley outlined a schedule for reviewing the proposed Central Street zoning changes, with proposals for the west portion of the street to be posted to the city web site by Friday, Sept. 21, in advance of discussion at a Zoning Committee meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Proposals for the east portion of the street would be posted to the city web site by Friday, Sept. 28, and would be discussed at a Zoning Committee meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

That would be followed by a series of additional meetings leading to a scheduled City Council approval of the new zoning at its first meeting in January.

Zoning Officer Arlova Jackson, who’s working on the West Side zoning proposals, said she plans to meet individually with commercial and industrial property owners who’ve raised issues about rezoning of their properties and then have a joint community meeting within the next 45 days at which the aldermen of the two affected wards, Lionel Jean-Baptiste and Delores Holmes, can review the changes with concerned residents.

She said she expected those plans would be ready for review by the Zoning Committee at a meeting tentatively planned for Nov. 7.

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