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Green building rules set for pruning

Evanston aldermen say they want local developers and environmental advocates to get together and reach a compromise on a proposed green building ordinance.


Evanston aldermen say they want local developers and environmental advocates to get together and reach a compromise on a proposed green building ordinance.

They told interim City Manager Rolanda Russell on Monday to work with both sides to develop a revised ordinance in time for the City Council’s Aug. 10 meeting.

Evanston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jonathan Perman said the chamber was pleased with the move.

“The ordinance, as written, would have placed an enormous burden upon the business and commercial building owners in Evanston,” Perman said.

Perman says that for rehabilitation projects the ordinance could require an owner to make a $50,000 deposit to the city for a small office build-out project that might have a total cost of only $3,000.

Andy Spatz of 1216 Main St., one of three Evanston-based developers who spoke against the ordinance at Monday’s meeting, said the ordinance “is a good idea, but needs polishing to fit the current economic environment.”

Under current conditions the ordinance would mean he wouldn’t be able to move forward with projects, Spatz said.

Ron Fleckman of 1657 Church St. said the ordinance should provide incentives rather than penalties. “The carrot is a much greener, greater motivator than the stick,” Fleckman said, adding that the deposit requirement “suggests an unhealthy lack of trust.”

But ordinance advocates, including Paige Finnegan of 525 Elmwood Ave., the new co-chair of the city’s Environment Board, said the city needs to adopt the green building ordinance to meet the environmental goals it has committed to.

Several aldermen said they supported the idea of a green building ordinance but thought that it was too punitive in its present form.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward said, “local small builders are the key to the future of the community. They have to be able to function under the rules.”

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