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

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

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

Meeting called to order at 6:05 p.m.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) chairs.

Alderpersons Kelly, Wynne, Nieuwsma, Revelle and Reid are present.

Geracaris arrives at 6:09 p.m.

Minutes approved with a couple of minor amendments.

P1 – Vacation rental license for 2545 Lawndale Ave.

Considerable public comment from neighbors opposing the license.

Property owners and relatives speak in favor of the license.

Opponents present petition which city clerk says has been signed by 31% of property owners within 250 feet of the property.

Assistant City Attorney Alex Ruggie says that doesn’t change the number of votes required to approve the license.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) asks staff for what experience have had in recent years with vacation rentals.

Staffer says city has issued about 20 vacation rental issues, says not aware of any compliance issues

Revelle says she’s torn about the issue — heard from a lot of neighbors opposed. Also heard from owners who say they’re planning to move back to Evanston relatively soon.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says he’s not aware of problems with vacation rentals in his ward. Hears neighbors’ concerns about potential problems. Says only knows of one issue, in 2nd Ward, but believes that’s been resolved.

Ald. Juan Geracaris (9th) says there are several in his ward that and haven’t had complaints.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) says should respect the views of the neighbors. Claims it will undermine the overall character of the neighborhood. Says she wouldn’t want to live next to a vacation rental with absentee landlords.

In response to a question from Garacaris, property owner say they will be spending more time at the property in Evanston once they’ve retired next June.

Burns says city ordinance permits non-owner-occupied vacation rentals.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) who’s not present has told him he’s opposed to the proposal because of the neighborhood opposition.

(It’s now 7:03 p.m.)

Approved 5-2, advances to City Council tonight. Kelly and Reid voted no.

P2 – Extension of time for three planned developments

Applies to 1012 Chicago Ave. , 1900 Sherman Ave. and 605 Davis St.

Sue Loellbach, of Joining Forces for Affordable Housing, says housing developments are very difficult all across the country now. Says the affordable units in the 1012 Chicago and 1900 Sherman buildings are critically need. (Other supporters of affordable housing also speak in favor of the extensions.)


P3 – Change to restaurant regulations in the MXE district


P4 – Adding billboards as a special use within certain distance of train tracks

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) says she’s opposed to billboards — says she’s heard from many people opposed in recent days.

Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) says change wouldn’t authorize anything immediately — would require special use approval for each billboard.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says he’s going to oppose it. Says Land Use Commission is opposed and has heard from other residents of his ward opposed as well.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says he could live with billboards that only faced the train tracks — but he’s concerned about inability to regulate content. Says he’s comfortable moving the proposal forward to the full council

Rejected on a vote of 2-5. Measure will not advance to City Council. Burns and Geracaris voted for it.

Meeting adjourned at 7:21 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 7:25 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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