Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council meeting.

The meeting is now expected to begin at 7:40 p.m. — an hour and 40 minutes after its originally scheduled time — because both committee meetings preceding it ran long.

A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 7:42 p.m.

Mayor’s announcements

Mayor Daniel Biss says city will implement the recommendations of the investigation into the sexual harassment incidents among lakefront workers.

City manager announcements

Acting City Manager Luke Stowe announces appointment of Audrey Thompson as acting Parks and Recreations Director.

Public Comment

2:40 each.

Wendy Pollack, of Environment Board, says new climate report is “an atlas of human suffering.” Praises decision to invest ARPA funds in environmental needs.

Jerri Garl says city isn’t investing enough in CARP projects.

Nick Korzienowski complains about Lot 1 development. Says it’s not an affordable housing project. Says will make parking situation worse.

Doree Stein says she has lived adjacent to Lot 1 at 505 Hinman since 1984. She objects to the proposed development.

Sue Loellbach, of Connections for the Homeless, says wants to congratulate the city for the Lot 1 development. Says it’s a really great step. Also pleased about the large number of proposals received — shows that could do it with other city-owned properties — including the recycling center.

Calvin Lynn of 424 South Blvd. complains that replacing the parking lot would eliminate greenspace and would lose equity in his property and it would block sunlight from his house.

Brian Knowles, 507 South Blvd., wants more community input on project.

Leslie Shad wants bird friendly considerations in the project.

Cecile McHugh, 1926 Orrington, doesn’t like the 1740 Orrington office development.

Public comment ends at 8:29 p.m.

AP1 – Appointment of Juan Geracaris as 9th Ward councilmember

Approved 7-0-1. Braithwaite recuses himself, because he, like Geracaris, now is employed by Northwestern University.

Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) being sworn in by City Clerk Stephanie Mendoza as Mayor Daniel Biss watches.

Executive session

Council votes to go into executive session at 8:41 p.m.

Mayor says he expects the executive session to last about an hour. Public meeting to resume after that with votes on a number of agenda items.

Update 10:06 p.m. — The Council has not yet returned from its executive session.

Public meeting resumes

At 10:36 p.m.

SP2 – PIRHL Development – 504-514 South Boulevard

Paul Zalmezak, economic development manager, discusses plan for development of the city parking lot and 4-unit HACC townhouses.

Explains “extensive” review process.

Related story

Says at this point are only asking to move forward with the zoning analysis. Says review process likely to take six to nine months.

HACC official says the current residents are in two two-bedroom townhomes and two three-bedroom townhomes. Says they will be offered housing choice vouchers to find other housing in Evanston and will have priority in coming back to the new project. Also will cover relocation expenses. Says they will not be economically hurt by the new development.

An aerial view of the proposed development looking northeast from Calvary Cemetery.

Johanna Casanova of PIRHL says the organization have been working on a very similar development for the past four years in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

An aerial view of the project site with details of the project labeled.
A rendering of the proposed development looking southwest from the corner of Hinman Avenue and South Boulevard.

PIRHL’s plan calls for building 60 apartments — including 19 one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom and 19 three-bedroom units.

A city staff memo says the development would include:

  • 18 units with project-based vouchers rented to tenants earning no more than 30% of area median income.
  • 30 units financed with low income housing tax credits and rented to tenants earning either 50% or 60% of AMI.
  • 12 market-rate units.

Developer says it will be an electric-building with 60% of the power generated on site. Also sustainable landscape design and other environmental features.

Also plan to offer supportive services for residents.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) says “thank you very much” for this building. Says it’s been under discussion for almost five years — using an underutilized asset to create a significant quantity of affordable housing.

Says she likes the townhouse-style design.

Says it gives the city a template to move forward with more affordable housing.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) asks about potential building material shortages and price increases?

Casanova says there’s a $800K contingency budget item to cover that. Will be working on cost issues going forward.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) asks about rental prices. Says $1,400 for a three bedroom unit would be a great rent in Evanston. That would be for someone earning no more than 60% of area median income.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) wants to know more about the other proposals that were received and what led to choosing this one?

Sarah Flax, housing and grants manager, says PIRHL scored 91 in staff evaluation next-highest finisher, CEPA/REBA, scored 90.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) says she’d rather have have R5 rather than C1a zoning.

Architect says are not maximizing lot coverage that could have in C1a — could build to lot line and instead are providing at 20-foot front yard setback.

Wynne says the Courts of Evanston is C1a at Chicago Avenue and South Boulevard.

Zalmezak says zoning analysis would come next.

Kelly says there haven’t been community meetings. Wynne says there have been community meetings. The claims that there haven’t been meetings are not true, Wynne says. Says she resents people lying at public comment.

Wynne says there’s tremendous support for affordable housing — especially three-bedroom family units.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says thinks priority for local organizations should be included in future scoring criteria for projects.

Approved 7-1. Kelly votes no.

SP-1 ARPA Plan update

A chart from staff memo showing updated federal spending categories and the city’s names for those projects.

Nieuwsma proposes following committee assignments

Public Health — to Human Services Committee.

Negative Economic Impacts — to Economic Development Committee.

Impacted communities — to Housing and Community Development Committee.

Mayor notes that it’s now 12:01 a.m. — its March, everybody.

He proposes tabling the issue until the next meeting. Get suggestions to staff for the proposals by end of the meeting.

Reid moves to table until March 14 meeting. Nieuwsma seconds.

Approved 8-0.

Consent agenda

Off consent: A4.

Rest of consent agenda approved.

A4 – Body camera system

Reid doesn’t want to have police buy a new drone.

Body camera proposal passes on a vote of 7-1.

Call of the wards

Nieuwsma … 4th Ward meeting 7 p.m., March 1.

Reid … 8th Ward last Thursday at 7p.m.

Meeting adjourned at 12:19 a.m. on Wednesday, March 1.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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