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

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:20 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:20 p.m. Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) chairs.

Minutes approved.

Nobody signed up for public comment

P1 – Plat of subdivision for 2635 Crawford Ave.

Approved.

P2 – Design and Project Review amendments

Meagan Jones, neighborhood and land use planner in the Community Development Department, says DAPR is essentially an open staff meeting with representatives from all city departments that reviews developments, redevelopments, and site uses (like sidewalk cafes).

Reviews construction of new buildings, exterior modifications of existing structures, planned developments and a variety of other proposal.

Doesn’t review permitted single-family and two-family residences that don’t require zoning variations and permitted temporary uses.

Says it provides a dialogue between staff and applicant and public can also provide comments.

Says DAPR has codified evaluation criteria.

Says DAPR offers optional concept review, before a formal application is accepted plus required preliminary review after a zoning analysis has been completed and final review before issuance of a building permit. (For some projects preliminary and final reviews are combined.)

Suffredin asks whether the process could be done through a “public document” rather than a physical meeting?

Johanna Nyden, says uses a form for the some reviews — but there is synergy when everybody comes together.

Says bigger question is whether it needs to be an open public staff meeting.

Jones says a sidewalk cafe meeting took perhaps 20 minutes — if the applicant had to check with each department it would take longer.

Suffredin says there are still public meetings at the Land Use Commission, the Planning and Development Committee and City Council.

Says Tuesday afternoon is an inconvenient time for residents to participate.

Nyden says have been working on a new landing page for planned developments. Could have “click to submit your comments” option.

Says the projects aren’t going to be stopped at DAPR — and residents sometimes are frustrated about that. Final decision is up to other bodies, she says.

Says for major projects there generally are neighborhood or ward meetings.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) says she’s attended a number of DAPR meetings says sees value in having staff meet together — there’s synergy in that.

Says sometime the public doesn’t understand that the final decisions will be made later — at Land Use Commission or City Council.

Says she’d be interested in working on another way to clarify to the public what the role is. But agrees that Tuesday afternoon isn’t the best time for the public to attend.

Suggests holding the proposal in committee.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says he supports the proposal — to clarify what the role of DAPR is.

Claims that staff can’t serve on a committee.

Assistant City Attorney Johnson says a staff committee isn’t the same as a committee that is an extension of City Council.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) asks what’s the problem we’re trying to solve. Says from the perspective of applicants is probably much more efficient than having them talk to individual departments.

Says there’s some benefit to having everybody in the room at the same time.

Says Tuesday afternoon isn’t such a great time — suggests opening it up to online participation.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) says having a meeting seems more efficient — back and forth among staff members is helpful for the discussion.

Having a date for the meeting gives the public a deadline for getting comments in.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says a lot of meetings should be hybrid — done in person and online as well. Doesn’t think current proposal is the solution. Doesn’t think it’s efficient to having public have to read through “a bunch of stuff” in a packet. Better to have a live presentation by the developer.

Suffredin calls for a vote

Wynne move to table until June 13 meeting.. Burns seconds.

Motion to table is approved. Suffredin and Reid vote no.

P3 – Special use permit for cannabis dispensary at 1804 Maple

Approved.

Meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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