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Recap: Planning and Development Committee

Here's a recap of our live coverage of this evening's Evanston City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting.

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

The committee is expected to act on a proposal to change the city’s zoning code to permit tiny homes.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. A packet with information on the agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 5:12 p.m.

Meeting chaired by Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward.

Aldermen Don Wilson, 4th Ward; Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward; Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, and Ann Rainey, 8th Ward are present. Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward joins in time for vote on P1.

Public Comment
Starts at 5:14 p.m. Ends at 5:18 p.m.

P1 – Grant from Illinois Housing Development Authority
$175K for affordable housing needs.
Sarah Flax, housing and grants manager, says grant is akin to the abandoned properties grant the city has received in the past. Helps improve vacant properties. Does permit using up to $5K per property toward acquisition costs — such as doing title searches. Unfortunately won’t help landlords with existing tenants, she says.
Approved 6-0.

P2 – 811 Emerson PD amendment
Would make half the parking spaces at the E2 development available for public use.
Fiske says it’s a benefit to the community.
Approved 6-0.

P3 – Extending time for building permit for 910-938 Custer
Wilson says need for extension is largely related to the fact that the principal of the development team died.
Approved 6-0.

P4 – Zoning amendment to permit tiny homes
Fiske says she’s withdrawing request to suspend rules for immediate adoption of the proposal tonight.
Wilson says he is glad to see the solution proposed.
Fiske says she’s very much in support of it. But says are concerned about side yard setbacks and how a 3 foot setback might impact an adjacent property owner.
Says need conversation — perhaps make them a special use.
Wynne says staff sent email about the side yard issue this afternoon.
Community Development Director Johanna Nyden says a lot of homes in Evanston already have just a three foot side yard setback. These would be smaller buildings — a shorter building, not as much bulk. So impact wouldn’t be as intense as with a traditional single family home.
Also notes that accessory dwelling units and garages only require at three foot setback.
Wilson says concerned about 28 foot height limit — says the seems pretty tall for a tiny house. Also concerned about potential price.

Revelle says thinks these are more of a “missing middle” solution rather than one for low income residents. Says she favors the proposal. Says it’s an important way to provide a greater range of housing in Evanston.
Height requirement is the same as for ADUs.

Wynne says many of these are very odd-shaped lot and having a larger setback would make it impossible to build. Says if turn them into special uses it makes the process cumbersome.

Approved 6-0.

Meeting adjourned at 5:47 p.m.

City Council to start at 6 p.m.

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