Here’s our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting. Key issues on tonight’s agenda include a rental licensing ordinance, changes to limits on residential building heights and creating a new liquor license class for craft breweries.

A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 8:19 p.m. All nine aldermen present.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber reports on fire prevention week. Had open houses at the fire stations Sunday. Says change battery in smoke detectors. Will be passing out batteries at train stations at time change in a couple of weeks. Says also need fire extinguisher in home.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says he plans to ask that the landlord licensing ordinance be referred back to staff. Expects no action on it tonight.

Says people have a lot of legitimate concerns around the issue. Lot of time already put in on it. 

Health Director Evonda Thomas says Erie Family Health Center will open Monday, Oct. 22, in the Civic Center. Says Erie will be taking over the city dental clinic — which has doubled its revenue in the past two years. Can call 847-666-3494.

Food scrap compostable recycling at Jewel stores announced. Over 200K pounds from the two Evanston Jewel stores. (Usable food leftovers are already being taken to food pantries.)

City Clerk notes that tomorrow, Tuesday, is the last day to register to vote for the November presidential election.

Citizen Comment

Mayor notes that it’s limited to 45 minutes …and says there are so many people signed up tonight that each will have just over one minute to speak.

Betty Burns Paden, 1122 Emerson, says she has no idea what the rental licensing ordinance says. Says city’s not a landlord and not her landlord. Says family has had rental properties since before she was born.

Tina Paden, 1122 Emerson says ordinance would drive away small property owners from Evanston. Says B&Bs wouldn’t be inspected though they have transient tenants.

Carliss Sutton says ordinance would encourage gentrification. Says ordinance won’t improve conditions for tenants — its just another burden on landlords.

Jim Schermerhorn, says ordinance barely got throught the special committee appointed to consider it on a 4-3 vote. Urges that the proposal be sent back to city staff.

Barbara Blanes favors the ordinance — reads from Minneapolis city website its rationale for having such an ordinance.

Mark Beam, who lives in the Fireman’s Park neighobrhood, says the ordinance is a reasonable mechanism to enforce compliance with existing city regulations. 

Stuart Cleland, 2145 Maple, supports the licensing ordinance. Says it’s carefully crafted and will improve conditions for tenants.

Many other speakers on both sides of the rental licensing ordinance, including

Albert Cirillo, who owns and lives in a two-flat at 1324 Maple, says the fines proposed in the ordinance are insane and the ordinance would give no due process protection to tenants.

Brendan Saunders, Interfaith Housing Center, says ordinance needs clear protections for both landlords and tenants. If a property is going going to lose its license, the city needs to have early warning system for tenatns.

James Dyer, 1620 Pitner, says there’s nothing in the ordinance to require tenants to keep property in good  condition. Says all the burden is on the landlords.

Joseph Resnick says the ordinance is a witchhunt against landlords.

End of citizen comment at 9:28 p.m.

Consent agenda

Discussion of items on tonight’s A&PW Committee agenda here.

Discussion of items on tonight’s P&D Committee agenda here.

Rental licensing ordinance taken off consent agenda.

Howard Street facade item from Economic Development Committee taken off consent agenda.

Consent agenda approved.

Final approval given to liquor license for Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles.

Rental licensing ordinance.

Wilson says appreciates all the work the special committee put in on the issue. Says there are legitimate concerns that still need to be addressed. Moves to take the item off the agenda and refer it to the city staff.

Burrus recuses herself because she’s a landlord.

Motion carries 8-0.

Gets round of applause from landlords still in the room.

607-609 Howard … new bakery, cleaner, beauty shop.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, requests increase of the amount of the facade improvement grant to include new glass for the storefronts. Approved.

Public Works Pedestrian Safety Update

Suzette Robinson, public works director, reports on progress … more work continuing in November and December this year … and last next August.

Alderman Burrus objects to plan to not install crosswalk at Oakton and Florence. Debate ensues about whether a crossing near a school should have a crossing guard — which would cost significant additional money. Burrus asks for expert opinion about the issue.

More discussion of issues on Crawford in the 6th Ward.

Alderman Fiske suggests creating medians on Sheridan Road. Says it would reduce pedestrian traffic across the street at Emerson and elsewhere.

Various aldermen raise questions about other intersections.

Sidewalks special order of business postponed.

Robert Crown discussion postponed.

Call of the wards

Holmes … 10/18 7 p.m., 5th ward meeting …with the city budget team.

Tendam … 6th Ward meeting 10/23 7p at Three Crowns … focused on city budget.

Grover … 7th Ward …meeting Ecology Center 10/11 7p … budget team and traffic engineers.

Rainey … suggests Evanston should adopt process Chicago has for hearings regarding problems at retail businesses. Says it’s worked wonders on issues at convenience store at Howard and Hoyne, on the Evanston border.

Oct 30 meeting for landlords with rental buildings in the 8th Ward — only them.Says will talk through issue of rental licensing. Says have to reach a meeting of the minds. 7:30 p at the police outpost.

Burrus … 9th ward meeting 10/17 at Reba Place Church … budget and other issues.

Braithwaite … 10/18 7p…1500 McDaniel … 2nd Ward meeting…. budget, etc.

Council goes into executive session

Public meeting ends at 10:23 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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