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Recap: Planning and Development Committee

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

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

The meeting is scheduled to start at 5:40 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 5:48 p.m.

P1 – 1101 Church St. adaptive reuse of former Sojourner Church
Chair Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says it’s a great development, adaptive reuses.
Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, also praises the project.
Approved 6-0 for introduction.

P2 – 2030 Greenwood St.
24 unit apartment development on a vacant lot.
It’s a ccreative use of an unused space in a changing neighborhood, Wynne says.
Approved 6-0 for introduction.

P3 – City code amendment concerning wireless facilities
Approved 6-0 for introduction.

P4 – Streamlining special use process
Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, proposes amendment to automatically sunset after 18 months — would encourage people to get moving.
Johanna Nyden, community development director, suggests instead having a review of it after two years. Can amend text at that time.
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says the staff report is excellent, very thorough. Wynne says she agrees — excellent explanation of a very complex topic.

Public Comment
Ben Kadish, property owner, favors the special use change — says current process is an incredible burden on landlords and tenants.
More background on this issue: Plan to speed new business approvals advances.

Annie Coakley, executive director of Downtown Evanston and Katherine Gotsick, executive director of the Main Dempster Mile, both speak in favor of the change.

Wynne says she thinks its important to make the change. Suggests a two year time period for review of the change.

After committee discussion, Suffredin agrees to having a review after two years.

Amendment for review after two years is approved 7-0 (Fiske has now arrived.)
Ordinance as amended is approved for introduction 7-0.

P5 – Extending the expiration date of permitted uses within the U2 zoning district.
(This is for events at Welch Ryan arena … which had been approved just in time for the pandemic to shut down special events.)
In public comment Laurie McFarland speaks against the extension. Says was a bad idea then and is a bad idea now.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says the pandemic precluded any test. Makes sense to give the extension to see how it works.
Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, says she agrees with McFarland that it was a bad idea then and still is now.

Motion fails 3-4. Fiske, Wilson and Rainey voted for it.

P6 – Leaf blower policy amendment
Public comment … Nina Kraus, NU biology professor who studies impact of sound on the brain, support banning leaf blowers. Says unwanted excessive sound has adverse physical and cognitive effects.

Wynne says she completely agrees — especially how landscape workers are being deafened by it and it affects their cardiovascular health.

Alex Elliott urges complete ban on leaf blowers. Kyle Campbell also wants year-round ban on leaf blowers. (WSJ opinion article on health impacts.)

Revelle supports the ordinance and a future complete ban.

Approved for introduction 7-0.

Meeting adjourned at 6:31 p.m.

City Council to start at 6:45 p.m.

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