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

The meeting is now scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:52 p.m.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) chairs.

Also present: Ald. Clare Kelly (1st), Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) and Ald. Devon Reid (8th) in person and Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) is online.

Minutes approved.

P1 – Building permit fine reduction at 1000 Central

Revelle says permit applications were made during summer of 2021 and city had staffing shortage — so was really difficult to get permits issued on time. Says she supports the reduction by half to $5K total.

Reid opposes fine reduction, as does Nieuwsma.

Kelly says given delay by city would be good idea to reduce the penalty. Says should be a system to hold city the city accountable.

Angel Schnur of city building staff says because of the delays in issuing permits during that time, staff is in support of reducing the penalties.

Kelly says she’ll develop a referral.

Tie vote 3-3. Goes to council with neutral recommendation,

P2 – Vacation rental license for 2545 Lawndale

Tabled at request of Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th).

D1 – Hiring FUSE executive fellow for affordable housing program design

Nicole Richardson from FUSE does presentation. Says have had over 300 fellows do projects for cities all over the country.

Says that the fellow would start work in Evanston by the end of October.

Nieuwsma asks how the fellow would work with city staff.

Sarah Flax, housing and grants manager, says the fellow would have a great deal of independence because he/she would be a senior person — but need to interact with city staff.

Flax says community development is very short-staffed now. Says have a lot of things going on now to balance — challenge is how to prioritize. Says FUSE fellow would be funded from ARPA.

Revelle says she has some concerns about adding another program — when are looking at moving from a rental registration to a rental licensing program, … and many other initiatives.

Burns says the fellow would report to Sarah Flax.

Revelle says that raises her concerns –because Sarah is already very busy.

Kelly says the project sounds interesting, but she shares Revelle’s concerns. Says project with cost $180K — so wants to makes sure there’s accountability. Wants to know more about outcomes of projects FUSE has done in other cities.

Geracaris says its an exciting opportunity to build capacity with the city’s staff.

Reid says the affordable housing issue particularly impacts black and brown folks in the city. The fellow, he says, will help build capacity to really move the ball forward on mitigating the affordable housing crisis.

Burns says half the people in the 8092 census tract are housing insecure. Says this is not duplicating efforts — it will increase capacity to address the affordable housing issue. Says now the city is losing, and losing badly, year over year.

No vote on this issue. But it’s expected to be back for a vote at the next P&D meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 7:52 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 8 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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