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Evanston City Council

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting.

Here's a link to a packet with information about this evening's agenda items.

7:04 p.m.

Meeting called to order.

Citizens Greener Evanston presentation. Eleanor Revelle gives the aldermen green energy t-shirts.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz makes a couple of award presentations … for web communication … and the distinguished budget award from the Government Finance Officers Association.

And … refuse collections will be delayed a day on Labor Day week.

Community Picnic… Sunday, Aug. 26, … noon to 5 p.m. in Ingraham Park behind the Civic Center.

And on Thursday, Aug. 30, Jalisco in Evanston event at the Levy Center… 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Citizen Comment

7:18 p.m.

Jan Halperin of Evanston History Center speaks in favor of the bed and breakfast ordinance. Says it would support the city's cultural heritage program. Says Evanston can become a destination for historical heritage tourism from around the world.

Jeff Smith says average travel speed in Evanston now is 10 to 15 miles an hour. Don't need lower speed limits. Says addition of many additional stop signs and other controls is unhealthy for economy, environment and safety.

Says main streets should have higher speed limits and fewer stops than side streets.

Should start over, reduce the number of controls, so can not only park, but also drive.

Frank Cicero, 222 Lake St., says a person should only be able to own one bed and breakfast and should have to be the majority owner of it.

Gay Riseborough, of the Grandmother Park Initiative says they've reached $170K mark in their fundraising drive… with $80K to go and 10.5 months to get there.

Several more speakers oppose the B&B ordinance as drafted… including Alice Eagly of 324 Davis St., who says she loves staying in B&Bs elsewhere … but wants substantial distance requirement separating them from each other here.

7:49 p.m.

Madelyn Ducre says Church Street repaving near Dodge Avenue is an accident waiting to happen.

8:04 p.m.

Water Conservation and Efficiency Plan

Background on this item in this story.

Survey concludes most people in Evanston think they use less than the average amount of water.

Typically nationwide per capita water usage is 100 gallons per person per day. In Evanston it's between 60 and 70 gallons per day.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says she likes education on these ideas, but not in favor of telling people they can't buy bottled water or have to install a high-efficiency toilet.

Citizens United

Mayor asks whether council is interested in scheduling a special meeting to put and advisory referendum on the ballot regarding overturning the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

Would have to be between this Wednesday and next Monday to meet the ballot deadline and meeting notice requirements.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, suggests doing it Thursday evening in conjunction with her ward meeting.

So the meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.

(The ward meeting starts at 7 p.m.)

Second Quarter Financial Report

Report from Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons. Story about the report here.

8:35 p.m.

Lyons says it looks like the city is running $1 million to $1.5 million "to the good" at this point of the year, after making adjustments for the expected variations in revenue over the course of the year.

Says if settle labor contracts for about a 2 percent increase, as expected, it would add about $1 million to spending to cover retroactive pay for employees.

Says expects the solid waste fund's deficit, which was at $1.4 million a year is expected to be reduced by about $250K as the year progresses. Says it's a new fund, so that shows progress.

Budget preparation calendar … 

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says staff is pretty comfortable that will not have to make major cuts in upcoming budget.

So are looking at fewer meetings in budget preparation process this year.

8:54 p.m.

Calendar approved… starts with a goal setting session Sept. 18… through budget adoption Nov. 19

Consent agenda

Second hand, junk and antique dealers ordinance off consent agenda.

Bed and breakfast ordinance off consent agenda.

Harley Clarke mansion RFP off consent agenda.

coLab grant agreement off consent agenda.

Consent agenda approved 9-0.

A&PW Report

Three liquor license reductions given immediate effect.

Forest Avenue one-way during Lincoln School arrival and dismissal hours given final approval.

Four-way stop at Michigan Avenue and Lee Street given final approval.

Speed limit reductions from 30 to 25 mph on Chicago Avenue, Central Street, and Oakton Street given final approval.

Secondhand, junk and antique dealers ordinance

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says she'll vote against it because says the main issue is parking — which can be handled through parking regulations.

Says she's worried that the registration requirements could drive the dealers out of business.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, says eliminating scavengers would increase the requests for special pickups by city crews.

Says concerned about licensing fees and requirements about bonding and insurance.

He moves to have the ordinance held. Gets a second, which puts the hold into effect.

Bed and breakfast ordinance

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, proposes amendment that no person could have any ownership or controlling interest in more than one B&B. Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, seconds.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, asks city attorney whether can pass ordinance saying someone can own  no more than one pet store or any other kind of business.

City Attorney Grant Farrar says equal protection and due process issues are pretty deep water … doesn't want to give an opinion immediately.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, proposes a substitute amendment to require that the owner resides in and its their primary residence.

Fiske accepts that amendment.

Grover says she understood that wanted to permit LLC ownership because of legal liability issues. Says she's not prepared to vote in favor of the change proposed.

Fiske says B&B would introduce commercial uses into residential zones. Concerned about that. Wants no more than one per block. Says the idea of LLCs which could own multiple B&Bs makes neighbors very concerned. Says it runs contrary to the original concept of a B&B — which was an owner-occupant, live-in situation.

Doesn't want to have commercial operations in single-family neighborhoods.

Wynne says may need to send this back to corporation counsel to get a solution to the LLC issue.

Farrar says he can't respond on that issue tonight — but happy to do so in future.

Wynne says without that issue resolved is not comfortable voting on it tonight. Asks what to do procedurally.

Farrar suggests referring the entire issue back to staff.

Rainey says she agrees that not ready to deal with this now. Nobody's happy with it. Calls the question.

Wynne withdraws her motion. Fiske withdraws hers.

Rainey's motion to call the question — that is to close off debate — carries 6-3. Fiske and Wynne and Holmes vote no (Needed a two-thirds vote, and got it, just barely.)

Vote on approving the ordinance, 38-O-12, which would amend the bed and breakfast ordinance … ordinance is defeated. Only Fiske and Wynne vote for it.

(It appears that the issue may return after further research about the ownership question.)

Harley Clarke Mansion request for proposals

Rainey … wants to make sure the property would be on the tax rolls. And wants to clarify whether the land under the buildings is not included in the proposed sale.

Deputy City Manager Joe McRae says its his understanding that only the buildings would be included in the RFP. City Manager says the land under the buildings is not included in the sale.

Rainey moves to amend to include the land under the buildintg.

Fiske said would still get property tax income from the house itself.

Rainey says that its more valuable to the buyer if the land is included … and that it has to be a for-profit buyer with the property on the tax rolls.

Grover says she thought the RFP was going to offer different options for ownership.

Bobkiewicz says he understood that the committee rejected having that flexibility, but the council can set any direction it wants.

Burrus she recalls the recommendation the way Grover did — asking all the options regarding ownership (but not including sale of any parkland around the building).

Bobkiewicz say can change the RFP to offer the different flavors.

Rainey moves to hold the issue. Tendam seconds that.

Bobkiewitz says the RFI, the initial request for interest offered the flexibility to either lease or buy the land under the buildings and lease or buy the buildings. So could go back to that version.

Rainey and Tendam withdraw their motion to hold.

Wilson moves to approve the RFP with the amendments suggested by Bobkiewitz so reflects the original RFI options for ownership or lease of the property.

Approved 8-1 on voice vote. Fiske votes no.

coLab Evanston grant for entrepreneurial programming.

Alderman Wynne moves to hold the issue. Burrus seconds. Approved unanimously.

9:56 p.m.

Call of the wards

Burrus wants plan commission to look at regulation of playsets in backyards.

Grover notes that Central Station Apartments, 1700 Central, is finally under construction. Formal groundbreaking coming up at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

10:01 p.m.

Council votes to go into executive session.

Public meeting ends.

 

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