The City Council tonight declined to accept the Plan Commission’s recommendation that it reject developer Robert King’s proposal for the 18-story, 165-unit Carroll Place development at 1881 Oak Ave.

The aldermen voted 8 – 0 to have the city’s legal staff draft an ordinance approving the project, and scheduled a committee hearing on the proposal for June 26.

The aldermen did not debate the merits of the project during tonight’s meeting or offer any explanation of their decision to reject the Plan Commission recommendation.

It was not clear what modifications of the proposal, if any, they may seek from the developer, or how many of them would approve the development as proposed.

Former 2nd Ward Alderman Betty Burns Paden complained to the council that the Carroll Place project would “drive poor people and black people out of town.”

Ms. Paden, who lives at 1122 Emerson St. said her family has lived in the area 160 years. “My community was torn down because of Research Park,” she said, “and now it’s being built up to something ungodly that doesn’t conform to the neighborhood.”

She called the project a monstrosity that would drive up taxes so high that current residents could no longer live in the area.

A move to reconsider the council’s rejection of the 27-unit Darrow Corners affordable housing development failed when no alderman who had voted against the plan was willing to support a reconsideration motion.

Bennett Johnson of the Evanston Community Development Corporation said the council supports new housing for upper and middle income families, but rejects new housing for low income families.

He said the actions would lead to a divided, racially segregated city and predicted the vacant site at Church Street and Darrow Avenue would remain a scar on the community for many years to come.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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