Kiera Kelly speaking at a DAPR meeting in 2019.

Two frequent opponents of high-rise housing in Evanston criticized plans today for a project that would bring 50 affordable housing units to Evanston.

Kiera Kelly and Clare Kelly, owners of single family homes more than a half mile from the proposed Housing Authority of Cook County development at 1900 Sherman Ave., objected to the 16-story height of the project and questioned the need for it.

Kiera Kelly told the city’s Design and Project Review Committee that the “mega-development would open the floodgates for enormous developments to creep down Sherman Avenue.”

She said the affordable units “are very needed” but questioned the inclusion of another 118 market-rate units, which Richard Monocchio, the executive director of the Housing Authority of Cook County, said were needed to make the mixed-income project financially feasible.

She said the height of the building should be reduced to what would be permitted under the existing R6 zoning of the property. That would limit the height to eight stories.


Clare Kelly, speaking at a city meeting in 2018.

Clare Kelly called the project “out of context and inappropriate” to the site and objected to what she called the “glassy look” of the design.

HACC plans to limit the building to residents 55-years-of-age and above, and Clare Kelly questionned the need for additional senior housing. “We already have over a half-dozen senior living facilities in Evanston,” she said.

A rendering of “The Emerson” the new HACC development proposed for the northwest corner of Sherman Avenue and Emerson Street.

Members of the housing authority’s development team made a presentation of their plans to the committee. After some comments from city staff Community Development Director Johanna Nyden moved to continue the discussion of the proposal at the committee’s next meeting at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

Once the staff committee makes a recommendation about the project it will go to the city’s Plan Commission which will make its own recommendation to City Council, which will ultimately grant or deny approval for it.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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