The Land Use Commission Tuesday night recommended approved of zoning variations required for a new Evanston Animal Shelter.

An aerial view of the existing shelter building on the left, with a portion of the city’s former recycling center on the right in an image provided by the city.

The new 8,810 square foot shelter, now projected to cost $6.3 million, would replace a 2,170 square foot shelter built in the 1980s that city staff says is inadequate to serve the city’s animal shelter needs and that is not compliant with various building and fire code requirements.

A diagram showing the layout of the proposed new shelter.

The city has received a $2 million grant from Cook County to help fund the shelter project, and the non-profit Evanston Animal Shelter Association has pledged to raise an additional $1 million toward the project.

The association has four full-time staff members and 175 volunteers who staff the shelter for the city.

The plans call for eliminating one of the curb cuts on the site and aligning the remaining driveway between the shelter and the recycling center with the traffic signal that also serves the Home Depot shopping center on the north side of Oakton Street.

The proposal requires approval as a special use and site development allowances for the number of parking spaces and the size of its loading space.

The proposal now goes to the City Council for final approval

At Monday’s council meeting Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) objected to the cost of the shelter project and Vicky Pasenko, the shelter association’s executive director, said fundraising efforts for the project are being hampered by council members saying they’re not willing to proceed with it.

Despite that, the Council voted 7-0 Monday to grant a waiver of normal purchasing rules to provide temporary housing for shelter animals during construction of the new shelter.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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