Here’s a recap our live coverage of the Evanston City Council Planning and Development Committee — which included approval of a new eco-friendly design for new Walgreens on Chicago Avenue.

Meeting called to order at 7:15 p.m.

Proposed ordinance to permit a special use for a drive-thru at 2628 Gross Point Road, the proposed site of a new Chase Bank Branch. Drive-thru’s are now completely banned on the property now.

Packet with information on the agenda items tonight is available online.

The Chase Bank proposal would require several other steps in an approval process after tonight’s action.

Citizen Comment on the Chase Bank proposal

Josh Huppert, 2630 Crawford, still opposed to the project. Says the new plan still uses part of the residential district as the bank parking lot. Says the prohibition on drive-thrus was part of the Central Street master plan, which was approved just a few years ago. Says no good reason has been presented for the change. Calls the proposal dishonest and sneaky.

Megan Lutz, 2637 Crawford, the nearest home to the proposed site, says the plan is not acceptable. Says new plan doesn’t answer the concerns of the neighbors. People feel blind-sided by the new proposal, she says.

Other opponents of the change speak.

Christine Samuel, 3614 Hillside Road, objects to use of residential lot for parking. Calls new plan a “legal sleight-of-hand.” All of a sudden the residential lot is now commercial. Says alley should be a buffer between the commercial and residential.

Courtney Wood, 3603 Hartzell, says she heard about the new plan this morning from Evanston Now. Says neighbors weren’t informed of the new proposal.

Committee discussion

Dennis Marino says traffic would exit onto Gross Point Road from the drive-thru. (Earlier version showed traffic exiting onto Crawford.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says appreciates emails from residents. Says idea of gas station — which one resident suggested would prefer to a bank — doesn’t sound like a better idea to him, and it would be permitted under current zoning.

Says his inclination is to approve this first step and see what comes from the rest of the process.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says appreciates the input — but proposal would require a special used permit and additional hearing before it could move ahead.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says alleys are really almost sacred, especially in Evanston where so much commercial abuts residential zones. Speculates about what would happen if Trader Joe’s wanted more parking, and had offer of a lot on Hinman Avenue, across the alley from Chicago Avenue.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says she has reservations similar to those of Fiske. Says she will vote to introduce the proposal, but not sure she will vote for it ultimately. Says Central Street plan was carefully studied. Is of concern that would so rapidly change minds about it.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says aldermen don’t see what’s going to be on the agenda until late on Thursday … and often don’t have time to look at it until later than that. (Some residents had objected to short notice.) Rainey says she shares Wynne’s concerns. Says don’t want to screem “spot zoning” but could be convinced that there is a reason for it in this case.

Says between this and the Northwestern issue must have gotten 300 emails. Says will vote to introduce it.

Vote to introduce carried 4-1. But decision is to take it off the consent agenda at the full council meeting.

635 Chicago Avenue — Walgreens planned development amendments.

Rainey says it’s an amazing alteration to the original proposal. Wynne says it was proposed by Walgreens. The proposal calls for “green” alterations to the plan.

Includes wind turbines and solar collectors 

Dan Garno, with Walgreens, says its progressive, cutting edge architecture. Will be generating own energy on site and reducing the amount of energy the project consumes.

The two cylindrical style wind turbines would generate 12 to 14K KWH of electricity.

Change approved.

NU tennis scoreboards

Fiske says she wants to thank the university for modifying the proposal to meet the concerns of neighbors. Says the highest scoreboard will be at a height of 19-feet. Will be have evergreen ivy screening to shield view of it from neighbors.

Rainey calls it a classic, perfect proposal.


Famous Burrito restaurant special use.


Building height

Rainey objects to phrasing of proposed ordinance on the full council agenda. Says its clear enough that existing non-conforming buildings could be rebuilt if destroyed. Says if not fixed will move to hold the ordinance at council

Meeting adjourned 8:07 p.m. City Council meeting to start at 8:15 p.m.

Top: A rendering of the new Walgreens design. Solar panels in blue on the roof. Wind turbines in parking lot near the street.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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