Evanston's Housing and Homelessness Commission Thursday night recommended City Council approval of a loan of up to $220,000 from the city's affordable housing fund to have the Evanston Development Cooperative build a two-bedroom accessory dwelling unit behind a private home on Sherman Avenue.
Two members of the commission, Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, and Ellen Cushing, recused themselves from the debate and vote on the proposal because they are shareholders in the co-op, but the other five commission members present all voted to support it.
The plan would have the two-story coach house, to be constructed from energy-efficent prefabricated panels, replace an existing garage behind the home at 1118 Sherman Ave.
The coach house would be rented through the city's centralized waitlist managed by Community Partners for Affordable Housing to a family earning no more than 80 percent of area median income at a rental rate currently set at $1,605 per month.
The homeowners, Elizabeth Jackson and Stuart Jessup, are projected to see net income from the ADU of $14,521 over the 20 years of the agreement, according to a pro-forma spreadsheet presented to the commission by the EDC.
The city would collect 1 percent interest from the owners over the term as well as recover the principal amount of the loan over its term.
The spreadsheet says the interest the city would earn would total nearly $20,000.
That's substantially below a market-rate return, but it's projected to be far better than if the city were to spend $400 a month, or $96,000 over 20 years, to directly subsidize the difference between market rate rent for the ADU and what it brings in at 80 percent of AMI.
The City Council is scheduled to get the proposal at its Sept. 16 meeting.
Dick Co, president of the Evanston Development Cooperative, said that assuming the project wins Council approval, the co-op should be able to break ground for the ADU in October or November and finish construction by Feburary or March of next year.
He said the homeowners have retained local architect DonnaLee Floeter to design the project.
Sara Flax, the city's housing and grants manager, said the pilot project is intended to help inform development of other financing programs for ADUs for homeowners who lack the cash resources to build a coach house.