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

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 7:32 p.m.

Mayor Daniel Biss introduces Pastor Monte Dillard, who reads a letter from the Evanston Own It organization supporting the Ryan Field project, and presents a $9,000 check from the group as an annual contribution supporting the city’s summer youth employment program and the city’s officer and a gentleman program.

Public Comment

More than 30 people have asked to speak. Speakers address the Ryan Field and Margarita Inn proposals as well as the proposal to legalize cannabis smoking lounges.

Public comment ends at 8:38 p.m.

Special orders of business

SP1 – Amending “Lodging Establishments” section of city code

Nieuwsma moves. Wynne seconds. Kelly moves to table (doesn’t get a second).

Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings says the city already requires licensing of such properties – -the change he says is designed to strengthen the rules.

Kelly wants to hear if other cities are using the same approach.

Sarah Flax, interim community development director, says hasn’t found any community doing it quite this way. But says the ordinance would permit more flexible rules — based on how the housing is provided. Responds to desire for new and different options, she says.

Nieuwsma says the process is not rushed — says he’s been involved in discussions on it since last March. Says this is an elegant and creative solution to simply regulate the many diverse housing options.

Cummings says there wouldn’t be a disparate impact on protected classes.

Approved for introduction on 7-1 vote. Kelly votes no.

SP2 – Harley Clarke mansion

Cummings says his responsibility is to seek direction from his client, the City Council.

Says it’s up to the Council to determine what it wants done — what it wants in the lease.

Says its very rare that the tenant gets to dictate the terms of the lease.

Revelle says the city now has received four different expressions of interest — three from groups that have expressed interest before. And a new concept — that needs further discussion — for a center for climate action — a partnership between the city and NU.

Says wants a discussion about the full property — not just move forward with the Jens Jensen proposal.

Kelly says the process dictated by the A&PW committee is being thwarted.

Cummings says once the lease is crafted it would be irresponsible to try to amend it in front of the Council. Says needs to have the information about what the Council wants in the lease before going through the negotiation process.

Nieuwsma says should include Jens Jensen group if possible. Says agrees with Revelle. Says he’d rather try to sell a whole pizza, rather than one that already has a slice taken out of it.

Wynne says staff questions are all ones she’d want answers to before she voted on any lease. Agrees with Revelle that need some time to think the whole mansion issue over again. Says are starting almost from scratch, but know a lot more information than before.

Says the house is the primary goal. Wants to slow the process down.

Geracaris says he support the Jens Jensen garden having the land around the mansion.

Harris agrees with Revelle. Suggests committee was confused. Says wants it done right — not fast or slow.

Reid says wants the land used like other parks — be open to people. So non-exclusive lease to the Jens Jensen garden group.

Revelle says full council should have been the entity to direct the staff to draft a lease — not the A&PW committee.

Revelle says the previous discussion about Harley Clarke was at the Council as a whole. Wynne says she agrees — it was often done as special orders of business at the Council.

Nieuwsma says doesn’t want the Jens Jensen group to have “exclusive use” of the grounds — but OK with them having exclusive control over the coach house and the greenhouse.

Revelle asks what does the Council want to do about the new expressions of interest in the mansion.

Reid suggests starting an RFP on the mansion, or something like that.

Biss says he agrees with that. Doesn’t believe the city is in a position to be turning down interests — should make it clear that we’re interested in hearing all ideas.

Says should keep options as open as possible.

SP3 – Amending “general offenses”

Reid proposes a further change to the ordinance (which has been through several drafts)

Revelle says she’s reluctant to make further amendments without Sgt. Sophier of the police department present.

Wynne agrees with Revelle.

Geracaris says he met with Sophier about something else this morning and they favor the ordinance as currently written.

Reid says can leave his concern to another date.

Approved 8-0.

Consent agenda

Off consent: A1, A3, A24, SS1, ED1.

Approved 7-0. (Burns has left the room.)

A1 – Payroll and bills

Approved 6-0-1. Nieuwsma abstains.

A24 – Documents related to funding of 1909 water intake replacement

For introduction and action tonight. Approved 7-0.

SS1 – Public services funding allocations

Nieuwsma moves to refer back to the Social Services Committee. Revelle seconds.

Reid says doesn’t think the committee wants the issue back. Should look at a long term strategy for improving the process, instead. And increase the funding for this year.

Sarah Flax, interim community development director, says the city moved to the new system of funding right before the pandemic hit — to focus resources on residents greatest needs — to help them become self-sufficient — with robust case management and wrap-around services.

Burns says it was clear the committee didn’t have enough money to meet all the requests for funding.

Geracaris and Reid suggest using ARPA funds

Motion to refer back to Social Services Committee 4-4 tie. Biss breaks the tie by voting no.

Reid moves to table until March 13 City Council meeting … suggests finding up to $250K in ARPA funds to partially close the funding gap

Nieuwsma seconds.

Approved 8-0.

ED1 – Glanz Design contract for legacy business program

Reid says he wants clear metrics for the effectiveness of the program. Says he’s a bit skeptical of the program — whether the website will be effective in helping retain local businesses.

Approved 8-0.

Call of the wards

Reid … ward meeting Thursday at 6 p.m.

Kelly … 1st and 4th ward meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at 1621 Chicago Ave. in the Parasol Room and virtually.

Harris … ward meeting Feb 28 virtual

Revelle … Wednesday, 7 p.m. virtual special topic ward meeting on alcohol sales at Welch Ryan.

Meeting adjourned at 10:47 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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