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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 meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:02 p.m.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) is chairing the committee.

Also present Alds. Clare Kelly (1st), Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th), Bobby Burns (5th), Tom Suffredin (6th), Eleanor Revelle (7th) and Devon Reid (8th).

Minutes approved

Public Comment

Public comment ends at 6:44 p.m.

Wynne rearranges agenda to start with P4 and hold P1 through P3 until later

P4 – Live work units amendments
Approved unanimously without discussion.

P5 – ADU moratorium
Kelly says only involves a sliver of ADUs, and is only a pause.
Reid says he’s generally not in support of the moratorium.
Revelle agrees with Kelly. Claims it not about owner occupied, its just giving a subcommittee six months to look “at a whole host of rental issues,” with a report to P&D in January.
Nieuwsma agrees with Kelly and Revelle. Says doesn’t favor long-term ban, but thinks a pause is the right step at this point.

Approved 5-2. Reid and Suffredin vote no.

P6 – Occupancy of dwelling units and definition of family.

Reid moves, Burns seconds.

Reid says in past had a four bedroom apartment and three roommates — having an extra roommate would have made it much more affordable. Says city shouldn’t be defining family.
Do want to ensure that have safe places for folks to live and not allowing hazards. The definition of family does not lessen hazards. What does is the housing code that sets square footage rules. Says that can easily be enforced, far more easily than whether someone is related or not.

Kelly says definition of family is obsolete, but need to react thoughtfully and not just politically. Says eliminating any definition of family is not a good idea.
Claims removing the family rule would eliminate the ability to regulate group homes.
Wants the issue referred to the proposed P&D subcommmittee.
Reid says can regulate group homes with other ordinances. Definition of family is not how should regulate group homes. Can have a licensing process for that.
Nieuwsma favors pushing it off to a subcommittee.
Revelle proposes to table the issue until second P&D meeting in January.

Tabled by 6-1 vote. Reid votes no.

P7 – Second Church of Christ, Scientist landmarking

Suffredin says this is my ward and wants a solution that gets the church out because they want to leave. Claims the neighbors weren’t opposed the the Salvation Army proposal. Says Council needs to discuss what can do to make sure it doesn’t become an abandoned property. Says will vote in favor of moving the issue to the full City Council.

Nieuwsma asks whether city has landmarked a building over the objection of the property owner. Johanna Leonard, community development director, says owners of Foster School building definitely were not enthusiastic about its landmarking. Says the Council has overturned a preservation recommendation. Nieuwsma says congregation can’t bear the cost of the landmark designation.

Reid says he’s opposed to the landmarking. Sometimes overuse historic landmark designation, he says, can be the fanciest nimby way to not have something you don’t want in your back yard. Would like to see the property sold and be back on the tax rolls.

Revelle agrees with Nieuwsma. Says will vote no.

Wynne says she’s a big supporter of the preservation ordinance — says it has enhanced the value of Evanston — but in this instance says argument for landmarking is not so strong and arguments against were striking. Says we are the city of churches — of dwindling membership. We have so many churches that are struggling and they are very expensive to maintain.

Fails 6-1. Suffredin votes yes. So the issue does not move forward to the full City Council.

P1 – Homeless Management system funding
Sarah Flax, housing and grants administrator says goal is to use funds more effectively based on changing market conditions.
Approved 7-0.

P2 – Expand the use of CDBG-CV funding allocated for rent assistance to include mortgage assistance
Approved 7-0.

P3 – Approved up to $50K additional CDBG-CV funding to expand emergency entrepreneurship support grants for small businesses
Approved 7-0.

Meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 7:55 p.m.

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