The City Council Monday voted to release the developer of the planned 1890 Maple Ave. high-rise from an old lease for parking space at the city’s Maple Avenue garage.

The lease was entered into between the city and a prior owner of the property in 2000 and was designed to provide off-site parking for the now-vacant office building at 1890 Maple which lacked sufficient on-site parking.

No payments for parking under the lease have been made in recent years, and no parking spaces have been used, because the building has been vacant.

The residential planned development approved for the site includes on-site parking and won’t need the leased space in the garage.

Attorney’s for the developer sought the release, because the original agreement had been recorded with the county and creates a possible cloud on the title to the property.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said he sought council approval for the move to avoid any questions in the future that the decision might represent a gift of public funds to the developer.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said, “We’re not giving them anything because they don’t owe us anything” — since the parking hadn’t been used.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, said that since the garage spaces were open — and other people were using them to park and paying for them, the city’s not out any money.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said that the lease was intended for an office building without parking, and because the new residential building will have its own parking — there’s no further need for the parking lease.

The aldermen voted unanimously to approve termination of the lease.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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