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City hires planners for Mayfair corridor

The City Council Monday voted to hire consultants to develop master planning, zoning and design guidelines for redeveloping the industrial area along the former Mayfair railroad right of way on Evanston’s west side.

The City Council Monday voted to hire consultants to develop master planning, zoning and design guidelines for redeveloping the industrial area along the former Mayfair railroad right of way on Evanston’s west side.

Several industrial properties in the area are for sale or already under contract by developers who want to construct new residental projects.

The council agreed to pay Farr Associates $147,580 for architectural and design services for the area from Simpson Street to Church Street.

It also hired JJR, LLC for $131,794 to perform similar work for the area from Church Street to Greenwood Street.

It has yet to select consultants for the area from Greenwood Street to Greenleaf Street.

The consultants were originally expected to complete their work before a 120-day moratorium the council imposed on issuance of new building permits in the area expires on Aug. 10.

But it’s taken so long to hire the consultants that Community Development Director James Wolinski says he will ask the aldermen to extend the moratorium for an additional 90 days to give the consultants sufficient time to complete their work.

The contract with the consultants calls for them to carry out “an inclusive public participation process,” but Mr. Wolinski said a schedule for those public meetings hasn’t yet been set.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, said, “Once the process is going, I don’t want to see the regular folks be the only ones who participate. We need to get into the affected neighborhoods and get others who haven’t spoken out before involved as well.”

Mr. Wolinski said both firms hired specialize in a new zoning style called form-based zoning that focuses on the form and mass of structures rather than just the type of uses.

Until now Evanston has primarily used what’s called Euclidean zoning, named for the Village of Euclid, Ohio, which was the defendant in a 1926 U.S. Supreme Court case that upheld the power of municipalities to regulate land use through zoning. It tends to focus on separating disparate uses — keeping factories away from homes, for example.

Form-based zoning, by contrast, has become popular among new urbanist planners, who seek to encourage compact, walkable neighborhoods that may combine a variety of land uses.

Related links
CharretteCenter.net – Codes: Form-Based
Wikipedia – Zoning
City of Evanston – West Evanston planning area map (2.5MB)

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