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

The meeting is now scheduled to start at 7:20 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 7:30 p.m.

All council members present except Burns. Suffredin is online.

SP1 – Oaths of office

… for Krissie Harris and Juan Geracaris, two council members elected last month, after having previously been appointed by the mayor to fill vacancies.

Mayor’s announcements

Mentions upcoming Saturday event on Bird Friendly Evanston at the Ecology Center

Notes this is Older Americans Month.

Manager’s public announcements

Mentions Public Service Recognition Week — May 7-13.

City Clerk’s communications

Notes end of pandemic-related special meeting rules on May 11.

Public comment

60 people have signed up … which would indicate 45 seconds per person. Mayor will give them 50 seconds

About 30 people spoke in favor of Connections for the Homeless use of the Margarita Inn. About six spoke in opposition.

A scattering of people spoke on other issues.

Public comment ends at 8:49 p.m.

Special orders of business

SP2 – Approval of Evanston Thrives Retail District Action Plan

Sarah Kellerman and Marisa Schulz from the consulting firms make a presentation.

Reid moves to support the three recommendations contained in the report.

Says $3 million from ARPA will be a start, but “won’t get us very far.”

Wants new taxes to fund it, including a head tax on large businesses for employees that don’t live in Evanston

Nieuwsma asks how long it will take to accomplish the goals. Kellerman says plan has a 10-year timeline.

She says $3 million doesn’t get very far. Says businesses need a commitment and show of confidence from the city, and the $3 million will at least do that.

Says there’s a potential for a huge return on the city’s investment.

Own the idea of being “The big city on the North Shore.”

Kelly pushes funding for small businesses.

Approved 8-0: Report accepted and placed on file. $3million allocated, and city manager authorized to add another staff position in economic development.

SP3 – Special use for rooming house at the Margarita Inn.

For introduction tonight

Revelle asks legal staff to opine on whether she has a conflict of interest because she’s made donations to Connections. Is told she does not.

Nieuwsma says we have a problem in Evanston with homelessness. Says we can’t fix income disparity or housing affordability or other issues.

Says homelessness problem isn’t something Evanston asked for — it exists because of broader issues nationwide issues. But providing housing as Connections does is part of the solution. If don’t “we’ll have a tent city coming to a park near you.”

Says wouldn’t be right to put it in a more marginalized neighborhood.

City needs to make sure the operation is held to the highest possible standards.

Says Connections is doing it right, but nobody’s perfect.

Says city is putting guardrails in place.

Says will talk more about the operating agreement at the Council’s next meeting.

Moves to amend the ordinance to include 17 conditions of special use — mostly what’s recommended by the land use commission

Reid says he wants to disclose that he’s received rental assistance from Connections, does not consider that to create a conflict of interest. Says he refuses to be bullied by big money interests.

Kelly says ethics is about the appearance. Questions how a council member makes it to the top of a list for assistance.

Amendment approved 6-2. Kelly and Suffredin vote no.

Kelly says she wants a final operating agreement before approving the special use permit. Suggests a variety of changes, from a proposal from an attorney, Daniel Lauber.

Nieuwsma says Kelly’s claim that Lauber’s suggestions have been ignored is false. Most have already been incorporated in the operating agreement, he says.

Revelle says there have been “growing pains” but Connections has been substantially improving its performance and its relations with the police department. Dealt with a large group of homeless who needed a place to go in the pandemic and have learned a lot over the past three years. Says she’s very supportive of the special use application.

Kelly tried to hold the ordinance until the next meeting. Mayor says that’s out of order for a special order of business. She later asks about tabling it. Is informed that that would require a majority vote. (Doesn’t look like that’s there.)

Vote on introduction of the special use ordinance… approved 6-2. Kelly and Suffredin vote no.

Ordinance will be on May 22 agenda for action.

Consent agenda

Off consent A2, A7, A16, P1, P2, P3, HS2, HS3, HS4, HS5, ED2.

Consent agenda, with those deletions, approved 8-0.

A2 – Amazon credit card activity

Approved 7-0-1. Suffredin abstains

A7 – Ryan Field rebuild economic study

Approved 6-2. Kelly and Suffredin vote no.

A16 – Evanston Games & Cafe liquor license

Suspension of rules for introduction and action tonight approved 8-0. Ordinance itself is approved 8-0.

P1 – Special use for apartment hotel at 1555 Oak Ave.

As amended in committee. Approved 7-0. (No vote from Suffredin.)

P2 – Cannabis Dispensary/Type 2 Restaurant 100 Chicago

Reid moves suspension of the rules to introduce and approve tonight. Approved 8-0.

Underlying motion for introduction and action is approved 6-0. (No vote from Harris or Suffredin.)

P3 – 5th Ward School, major variations.

Amended in committee to eliminate one of the drop-off zones on Ashland Avenue.

Amendment, slightly rephrased, approved 7-0. (No vote from Suffredin)

Nieuwsma proposes amendment to add “best efforts” to achieve LEED Gold and bird friendly compliance. Approved 7-0. (Clerk says Suffredin has had to drop off the call.)

Variations ordinance as amended is approved for introduction on a 7-0 vote. Up for final action May 22.

HS2 – Bag tax amendments and plastic bag ban

Approved 8-0 (Burns is now at the meeting.)

HS3 – Fair Workweek ordinance

Reid proposes amendment to provide an exemption for weather emergency that prevents business operation.

Amendment approved 8-0.

Kelly says the ordinance feels very draconian to a lot of small businesses. Says need to have a couple of community meetings and put out the word so people can come forward so can understand any unintended impacts.

She moves to hold the ordinance. Fails for lack of a second.

Reid says the ordinance has been covered extensively in the news and been discussed at multiple Human Services Committee meetings.

Kelly says just having it on a committee agenda is insufficient. Says when Chicago has a 100 employee limit and Evanston is setting it at 15, that’s much more drastic.

Approved for introduction 6-2. Kelly and somebody else voted no.

HS4 – Beach and boat ramps ordinance amendment

Suspension of the rules for introduction and action.

Suspension of the rules approved 8-0.

Ordinance is approved 8-0.

HS5 – Leaf blower ordinance amendment

Suspension of the rules for introduction and action.

Suspension of the rules approved 8-0.

Ordinance is approved 8-0.

Call of the wards

Reid … 8th Ward meeting last Thursday of May.

Harris… May 16 ward meeting at Crown at 7p.

Nieuwsma …June 6 ward meeting at Crown.

Council votes to go into executive session on personnel, litigation, and purchase or sale of real property.

Public meeting ends at 10:51 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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