Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this afternoon’s meeting of the Evanston City Council’s Administration and Public Works Committee.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.

A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 4:32 p.m.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd), Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Ald. Devon Reid, Ald. Clare Kelly were present at role call. Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) arrived shortly thereafter.

Items A3, A7 and A8 removed. Rest of consent agenda approved.

A3 – Data Transfer Solutions LLC contract

Nieuwsma says notes indicate the software was initially approved in 2016, but still hasn’t had all the assets entered into the program. Public Works Director Dave Stoneback says there were issues with inputting the data, but “believe we are getting our money’s worth for it.”

Approved 5-0.

A7 – Christopher Burke Engineering Howard Street Corridor engineering services change order.

Lara Biggs, city engineer, says not fair to divide by geography of Evanston owning 60% of the street. Says there were concerns that funding would disappear if didn’t get it out to bid. Ended up with a lot of field changes. Says Chicago has agreed to pay a lot of the cost involved. Says Burke firm “deserves to be paid.” Says the city got a several million dollar funding grant that would not have come through if hadn’t hurried to get the project out to bid.

Approved 5-0.

A8 – Change order to Fire Station 4 emergency roof improvements contract

Approved 5-0.

Items for consideration

A11 – IDOT grant resolution $1.36M

Approved 5-0.

A12 – IDOT grant resolution $1.097M

Approved 5-0.

A13 – Noyes Cultural Arts Center lease with Sucorro Mucino

Approved 5-0.

A14 – Amendment to Class S liquor license rules

Approved 5-0

A15 – Dollop General Store liquor license

Approved 5-0.

Items for discussion

APW1 – Commercial vehicle parking

In public comment, resident objects to way current rules are implemented. Says he has a Ford F-150 and got a ticket.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) says one of her constituents had a Toyota Prius with a company logo — wants to be able to park near his home. Doesn’t want to have to leave the company vehicle at work and buy another car.

Revelle notes that while city staff has interpreted the commercial vehicle rule as being applied to any vehicle with logos on it — the city code provision makes no reference to logos — but instead defines commercial vehicles by weight.

Revelle suggests letting any resident park one commercial vehicle with a permit.

Mike Rivera, parking manager, voices concerns about potential attachments to vehicles — like ladder racks, plows or tow-behind vehicles. Suggests committee should create a new permit and define what vehicles would be allowed, and that would have to pay the city’s wheel tax and a permit fee.

Rivera suggests allowing passenger vehicles, SUVs of all sizes, minivans and vans and pickup trucks.

Nieuwsma supports right of workers to park a work vehicle on city streets — but don’t want to have semi-trucks or tow trucks lined up on the streets.

Says it might not always be the same vehicle — so tying the permit to a particular license tag might not work.

Nieuwsma suggests 10,000 pounds as the weight threshold. Rivera says that could include a UHaul box truck.

Nieuwsma says he’s not concerned about logos, but doesn’t want the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile parked on the street.

Rivera suggests no trailers. Wants clarification about whether want to limit it to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

Burns says want to make sure businesses are accounting for their parking needs within their business plan — need to accommodate their parking needs on their business property.

Says Rivera’s proposed fee of $115 a year would look pretty cheap compared to paying for garage parking.

Rivera suggest limiting the permit to one commercial vehicle per residential address.

Burns says should have the discussion about box trucks too — that’s happening in the ward now. Says enforcement is inconsistent now.

Rivera says code (section 10-4-5-3) now allows truck parking if less than half the buildings on a block are used for residential purposes.

Kelly asks about having a spacing requirement — only allow a certain number per block.

Says in a lot of areas it wouldn’t be a problem — because there aren’t that many commercial vehicles.

Burns says he has issues with people who have a business and are parking several commercial vehicles on the street.

Rivera says using the license plate recognition system would make it a lot easier.

Reid says he doesn’t want to impose a limit per block — says that would be discriminatory against blue collar workers.

Reid wants to have a map of where commercial vehicle parking would be allowed under the existing rules that permit it where less than 50% of the buildings are residential.

Reid asks whether somebody driving for Uber or DoorDash would have to register it as a commercial vehicle. Rivera says if it’s not marked, parking enforcement workers wouldn’t know.

Burns says he has no problem with person who has one vehicle and uses it commercially by day and as a personal vehicle by night. But objects to people having multiple commercial vehicles and parking them on residential streets. Says he has no concern about the Uber driver at all.

Rivera says the commercial permitting would largely apply to vehicles not currently registered to the person’s home address.

Rivera expects to return to a future meeting with a proposed ordinance change.

APW2 – Sewer service repair costs

Committee members discuss proposal from staff to address the issue.

Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says shouldn’t provide any assistance unless the city has adopted an ordinance providing the relief.

But says Council could set a statute of limitations that could provide assistance to the resident who had raised the issue.

Public Works Director Dave Stoneback says adopting such an ordinance would place a potentially unlimited liability on the city that’s not budgeted for. Would have to raise the sewer rate, perhaps. As infrastructure gets older, he says, the city will likely have the issue eventually. Says all sewer pipes will fail sooner or later, and now there’s no funding source to pay for it.

Reid asks how big an increase in sewer rates it would require to cover it — a few pennies?. Stoneback says yes. Reid says that’s a reasonable ask to take care of the issue.

Kelly wants to refer the issue back to the committee for action. Says “we can find the funding.”

Stoneback says March 14 would be a feasible date for bringing the issue back for action.

Burns says he’s OK providing relief to the person who raised the issue. Not OK with doing it going forward if affordable insurance is available.

Reid wants to have the city insure residents against the problem.

Kelly notes that the staff proposal would protect lower income residents, perhaps more benefit for low income residents.

Reid suggests capping the resident’s cost at $15K and have the city pay the rest of the cost.

Kelly moves that. Burns seconds. Approved 4-1 with Nieuwsma voting no.

Staff to come back with a proposal embodying that on March 14.

APW meeting adjourned at 6:17 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting to start in five minutes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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