Evanston alders voted Monday night to lop a floor off a proposed affordable housing development at 1811-1815 Church St.

The change, proposed by Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) will reduce the size of the project from 44 to 33 apartment units.

It would leave the Housing Opportunities Development Corporation building four stories tall, instead of five, and would reduce the extent of the zoning variations needed for the project.

Burns said the smaller building would still add family-size apartment units to the area. The unit mix, he said, would be 12 one-bedroom, 10 two-bedroom and 11 three-bedroom units.

Burns said the change would achieve the lower density that some community members have wanted.

Most neighbors who spoke during public comment voiced opposition to construction of any new affordable housing in their neighborhood — at least until such housing is more evenly distributed citywide — a project that likely would take decades to achieve.

Several of the opponents are landlords who rent to low income tenants and fear increased competition from the new building.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) tried to delay a vote on the project, saying the plans should be referred to the Preservation Commission for a review of its potential impact on a landmark building to the west and that the revised plan for a smaller building should be sent to the Land Use Commission for a new hearing.

But Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) said concerns about the structural integrity of adjacent buildings are addressed all the time as part of the construction management plan review for a project conducted by city staff before building permits are issued, and it was not appropriate to send the issue to the Preservation Commission.

And she added that because project was being made smaller, rather than larger, there was no need to send it back to the Land Use Commission.

Burns said that before a final City Council vote on the proposal, scheduled for March 27, there would be time to prepare revised plans for the building.

The vote to introduce the plans for the development was 6-2, with Kelly and Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) voting no. Ald. Devon Reid (8th) was absent from the meeting.

The Council also voted to introduce plans for the Mt. Pisgah Ministry’s new church building at 1801-1805 Church St. on an identical 6-2 vote with Kelly and Suffredin voting no.

Several alders indicated they looked forward to addressing issues related to the distribution of affordable housing across the city during the upcoming revision of the city’s comprehensive plan.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. There were more speakers at community meetings opposing it than supporting it! None of the immediate neighbors were aware of this building or any community meetings, I’m one of those neighbors along with everybody that’s opposing it!

      1. This company has a building about 5 minutes from here is a troubled building with 288 phone calls in a 2 year span from dead bodies, to drugs, assault and many crimes. They like to use customers from the connection for the homeless but fail to provide them any kind of help to overcome addiction, trauma among other stuff. They CAN’T prioritize Evanston residents! They are getting 4 million in tax papers money and the land valued at about $1,000,000 is being gifted to them in addition they are getting federal money to build this so this build would be $23 million each unit will roughly coast about 450,000 that’s way to much you can buy a house for that price! 5th ward has the highest affordable housing in Evanston and they keep putting more in it, why not spread that love across Evanston and put affordable housing in wards with little to no affordable housing in it. What they are doing is modernized redlining and segregation in the form of affordable housing!

      2. Reason I’m against it.

        1. Some of Hodc client are from CONNECTION FOR HOMELESS. CFH house their client without any help with drugs addiction or assistance. The building is located in a drug free zone.
        720 ILCS 570/402 states anyone with drugs within 500ft from the school is going to get double Fine and years. The school is 260 feet away from propose sight. Sound like a setup for low income and homeless nieghbors.

        2. 5th ward is consider a food desert.
        The location could have serve the community just as how the 6th ward has businesses on central street. 2nd ward has dempster and main st. 8th has Howard st and on and on. Anything we need in the 5th we have to get in our vehicle and travel for simple things.

        3. There is not enough parking for visitors for the apartment building, the church will have zero parking for its 200 members. They will fill up darrow avenue and church at.

        4. None of the neighbour recieve any notifications or flyer. There is a 8×11 inches notice on the land. Go check it out.

        5. 5th ward suffer from low increase on property valve and it was because the city didn’t invest in the ward for the last 100 years. Low income building is only going to increase our taxes and bring the little equites in for our home down.
        Take a trip up darrow from church st. We still commercial street lights. Not the fancy ones you see in the other ward. The block doesn’t look like you in evanston.

        6. I have suffer and traumatized by violent, prostitution and drugs. I repair gun shot holes to my house several times. These were cause by properties of low income renter.

      3. Anne, I’ll make the assumption that you are not living in 5th or 8th Ward if I’m wrong i apologize. In spite of dominating the northshore and even Chicago ,I believe, in availability of below market rate housing Evanston is hell bent on building ever more. They love the idea of it as long as it isn’t built by them. So it mostly ends up in areas where there is less citizen engagement and organization to halt it like 5th ward or some of the other wards. But stacking all the poverty in one area is extremely unfair to the residents and it works about as well as anywhere were you segregate poverty in one area. I too live in an area that is dense with low income housing and am exhausted by the crime, gun violence, and well intentioned voters who gleefully participate in filling just a few wards with low income housing. This goes without saying but I’ll say it just for the knee jerk crowd “not all below market rate housing is bad and and neither are the people that live in those units”

        1. Good point 8th Ward! And to reiterate – “Not all below market rate housing is bad and neither are the people that live in those units.”
          Fellow 8th Ward Resident

  2. Cabrini Green North? Doesn’t work people. Evanston elected officials are so archaic and backward thinking.

    1. Good example! Evanston elected officials keep forgetting that they work for us we elected them! The mayor says his for affordable housing I would like to see more affordable housing added to the wards that have little affordable housing in them! And I don’t mean by them allocating affordable housing in a building I mean a whole building like this in one In one of those wards! That’s what we fighting for, that’s what we want! Spread the love evenly!

  3. JR. unfortunately a lot of people think they deserve things they didn’t work for. I was at the planning and develope meeting for this building. One young lady, looks fairly young and able was speaking about HODC. It was embarrassing to hear her say she been living on section 8 for 22 years. This building will give her an opportunity to live in evanston.
    Evanston is trying make the 5th the new Cabrini. They want to say they are doing the right thing by providing low income house, as long as it’s not by them.

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