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Consultant: City should revamp development reviews

The City Council this evening holds a special meeting to review a report recommending changes in the city’s development review process.

The report from consultant Virchow, Krause & Company of Chicago says the city needs to improve its approach to “ensure quality development that is aligned with community values.”

The consultant says:

  • The City Council and its Planning and Development Committee should refrain “from becoming mired in the technical details” and “respect staff technical expertise and maintain the necessary balance between honoring public input and considering technical realities.”
  • The City Council should “focus on achieving the overall development vision,” and the committee should be the “link between citizen input” and the overall vision.
  • The process should be designed to avoid the repetitive public comment periods that lengthen the process and “often result in modifications to projects that in the end are not in the best interest of the City.”

The council tonight is also scheduled to receive a presentation on plans for city capital improvement projects for the next fiscal year.

A copy of the consultant’s 162-page report on the development process in Evanston is available as an attachment below.

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