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Kendall approval seems near

Evanston aldermen came close to approving an agreement for redevelopment of the former Kendall College property Monday, but ended up postponing a vote to work out some technical details.

Since the Planning and Development Committee’s last meeting, the developer, Smithfield Properties, revised its plans to eliminate the last of the duplex units it had been seeking for a portion of the site at 2408 Orrington Ave.

The new plan calls for 20 detached single-family homes in a planned development with R-1 zoning for the entire parcel.

That pleased neighbors who’ve been fighting for three years to have the property, currently zoned U-1 for university uses including classrooms and dormitories, rezoned to the lowest-density R-1 residential classification.

Bill McClure of 12 Milburn Park, representing the Kendall Neighbors group, said, “We couldn’t be happier,” and added that recent discussions with the developer had been very prodctive.

After considerable discussion about what would happen to the zoning of the property if the developer failed to build all 20 planned homes, the aldermen concluded that efforts to penalize the developer by having the planned development allowances expire after a specified period could end up harming people who bought homes in the development.

They referred that issue, and the possibility of imposing conditions that would require the property to remain on the tax rolls if it were acquired by a non-profit, back to the city’s legal department.

The project is scheduled to return to the Planning and Development Committee for further consideration on Sept. 11.

In other development-related issues the City Council:

* Gave preliminary approval to Fifth Third Bank’s plan to build a new branch with a drive-thru in the shopping center at 2400 Main St.

* Gave preliminary approval to a new ordinance regulating the location, size and appearance of solar panels.

* Granted Bristol Chicago Development another extension of time to break ground on its 221-unit rental apartment project at 413-421 Howard St., and also approved vacating an alley for the project and granting an easement for a building canopy that would overhang the sidewalk on Howard. The new deadline is Dec. 8.

* Agreed to consider an appeal from the owners of 1218 Elmwood Ave. of the Preservation Commission’s denial of their request for permission to demolish the landmark building, which the owners say cannot be rehabilitated without spending far more than what the building would be worth.

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