Evanston’s Plan Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve plans for a 40-unit town home development in the 900 block of Custer Avenue.

The commissioners adopted a set of conditions for approval of the zoning change and planned development request suggested by staff and added two more:

At the suggestion of Commissioner Carol Goddard the panel voted to recommend that one or two parking spaces on Main Street at the northwest corner of Main and Custer be removed to improve site lines for turning traffic.

The northwest corner of Main and Custer in a 2017 image from Google Maps.

Those parking spaces now serve customers of the branch post office located on the corner.

At the suggestion of Commissioner George Halek the group recommended that the developer continue to work with city staff on improving the appearance of the design for the project.

Halek, apparently referring to the side of the planned buildings that would face Custer, said there could be some improvements to make it more compatible with the facade of outher houses on the street and “to make those blank areas look a little more friendly.”

The panel rejected suggestions from some neighbors to reduce the number of units in the development from 40 to 32.

The Evanston Commons project, to be built on the former Dard Products site at 910-938 Custer, still requires a recommendation from the Economic Development Committee regarding financial assistance the developer is seeking from the tax increment financing district for the area before it reaches the City Council for a final vote.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. What Happened to Transit-Oriented Development?

    This is a lot that is literally right next to both Metra and CTA.  In a shopping district that is actually walkable.  Is Evanston really going to approve building 40 $650K+ townhomes with two car garages?  Seriously?  

    All the talk about Transit-Oriented Development…about reducing vehicle miles and making Evanston a green and walkable city…all this “Affordable Housing” drama…and yet all the City seems to do is build housing for rich people as long as they have taxpayer subsidized units or write a check for “Affordable Housing.”

    If Evanston truly wants Main-Dempster to thrive, the area needs more pedestrian traffic.  If Evanston truly wants more transit use, there would be housing here that would attract people without cars.  If Evanston truly cared about making housing affordable, they would start approving the creation of middle and working class housing — not just housing for people with money and poor people receiving taxpayer charity.  

    This is a piece of land next to the train and the lumber yard.  Build it high.  Make it dense.  Make it mixed size (including studios) thus making it mixed income.  It is time for Evanston to practice what it preaches.

    1. Then lobby for rezoning

      Hi School,

      Except in the immediate downtown area, zoning on the west side of the Metra tracks in Evanston does not permit anything resembling high-rise development.

      The developers here proposed something that was reasonably close to what was allowed under existing zoning and, despite some objections, they appear to be on a path to get the variations they’ve requested.

      When the same developers, at the invitation of city staff, proposed a six-story apartment building on the Main Street face of this block — which would have had on-site affordable housing — the screams of outrage from neighbors and Main Street merchants about height and parking led them to drop the plans.

      — Bill

  2. New Housing

    First thing I thought when I saw the blueprints was:  OMG they look like a new versionof the Chicago Projects!!  Why is the council trying to turn Evanston into the ugliest suburb in the area?

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