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Less than half as many people turned out Wednesday for the second downtown north planning roundtable meeting at the Evanston Civic Center as showed up for the first meeting last month.

And the consensus among the people who did show up appeared to be to lower rather than increase allowed zoning density in the area — which city planners have seen as a potential location for new transit-oriented development.

Participants checking out the maps at the end of the meeting.

Participants in the session put colored stickers on maps, numbering them to show the maximum number of stories they favored for new structures in the area. Of the five maps posted on the wall at the end of the meeting, three clearly showed a preference for heights lower than what’s now permitted.

The other two offered a somewhat more mixed recommendation — with generally lower heights to the north, but heights at or near current limits along the north side of Emerson street — and somewhat higher than current zoning for the property at 831 Emerson St.

A map prepared by city staff showing the current buidling heights — in feet — permitted in the downtown north area.

The City Council’s rejection earlier this year of a plan for a 12-story building at that site helped trigger the zoning review for the downtown north area — which as defined by city staff generally runs from Emerson north to Foster Street and from Ridge Avenue east to the alley west of Sherman Avenue, but excludes properties along most of Garnett Place.

Meeting participants, by the color of the dots they chose, generally seemed to support mixed-use development in the area — projects that typically combine ground floor retail shops with residential and sometimes office uses on upper floors.

Meeting participants considering what dots to put on their map.

Judging from the apparent ages of participants in the Parasol Room meeting at the Civic Center, none of the young professionals that city staff have said they anticipate new transit-oriented development would attract to the neighborhood turned out for the meeting.

Related stories

Downtown north planning OK’d (4/19/16)

Plan would expand downtown by 15 percent (4/17/16)

Manager: New plan coming for north end of downtown (3/2/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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2 Comments

  1. Reduced parking spots

    Try to get Melissa Wynne to read this. She's designed development in the thrid ward to respond to similar ignorance.   Each new construction has reduced numbers of parking spaces.  However, check the illegal parking in the Main-Chicago area and in connected alleys.  That results from her ignorance.

  2. If Evanston is really as liberal as it says it is—

    Then residents should want more high rise buildings so more people will move to Evanston, more taxes will be raised, rents will come down [lower vacancy], contractors will be more willing to build since more units will mean less need for "contributions" for affordable units.

    Want to bet the response from all areas of Evanston [at least middle class to the supposed liberal democratic areas] will be NIMBY.

    Actions speaker louder than words.

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