The theory that Central Street is unique and that rules that apply in the rest of Evanston shouldn’t apply there are set to come up for debate at the Plan Commission next month.
City staff has proposed scrapping a provision of the seven-year-old Central Street master plan that bars use of site development allowances for planned developments on Central — allowances that are available for developments in all other areas of Evanston.
The proposal was scheduled for debate at a Plan Commission meeting tonight, but the commission voted to postpone the discussion until next month after a last-minute protest by John Walsh, president of the Central Street Neighbors Association, the community group that fought for the exemption last decade.
The issue is now scheduled for discussion at the commission’s Sept. 10 meeting.
In recommending the change, Community Development Director Mark Muenzer said 32 of the 35 planned developments approved in the city since 2000 have required site development allowances to be viable.
The allowances include relief from parking requirements, setbacks and height and floor-area-ratio restrictions.
Muenzer says the allowances let the city negotiate larger public benefits from developers.
The move for changing the rules now appears to be prompted by what apparently would be the first planned development project proposed on Central Street since the real estate market collapse that occurred about the time the plan was adopted.
That’s a proposal for a 47-unit rental residential development on the site of a long-vacant office building at 1620 Central St. that had once been proposed for conversion to a dormitory for developmentally disabled young adults in a program run by National Louis University.
Walsh says he’s hoping to arrange a meeting for CSNA leaders with Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, city staff and the project developer before the Sept. 10 Plan Commission meeting.