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Recap: Planning and Development Committee

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

Here’s a recap of our live coverage of Monday 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 the agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 5:44 p.m.

All seven members present — Kelly, Wynne, Nieuwsma, Burns, Suffredin, Revelle, Reid.

P1 – Extending time for planned development at 1900 Sherman Ave.

(Nobody showed up for public comment on this item.)

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) claims the motion is premature.

Community Development Director Johanna Nyden says the major adjustment currently before the Plan Commission is separate from the extension of time for starting construction.

Now public comment from Brue Enenbach, who says the motion is premature.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) says the request for extension is straight-forward and has occurred with just about every planned development.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) agrees with Revelle, says the only exception she can think of was when a developer was asking for a third extension. (That was for the 708 Church St. tower over a decade ago.)

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says if extensions are routine maybe should change the rule.

Nyden says want to set them standardized to start building in 12 months to get things moving. Notes that supply chain issues are very challenging right now. Thinks its good to require that they come back and provide updates.

Approved for introduction 7-0

P2 – Leaf blower policy amendments

Calls for phase out of gasoline and propane-powered leaf blowers by April 2023 and reduces time period when blowers can be used.

Representative from Canal Shores Golf Course says still need gas blowers for some of their work — that electric blowers that powerful don’t yet exist.

Wants language exception changed from “golf greens” to “in-play areas of a golf course.”

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) proposes amendment to that effect.

Amendment is approved 5-1. Reid votes no. (Suffredin has left the meeting.)

Ordinance as amended approved for introduction 6-0.

Items for communication

P3 – Lessons Learned: Greenleaf Shared Street Pilot Program

Report in packet.

Nieuwsma says one lesson is the importance of public engagement. (More of it.)

Jessica Hynik, transportation and mobility coordinator, says learned that placing barriers in the parking lane had minimal to no effect on reducing car traffic and increasing bike and walking traffic.

68% of community members said they prefer protected bike lanes to other solutions.

Also had residents move barriers either off the street completely or out into the traffic lanes.

Says because of cost of project, the city is not looking to do a follow-up next year.

Revelle asks whether there’s an area for a “next” protected bike line.

Hyink says city is looking at Church Street from Dodge to McDaniel for protected bike lanes — just at the phase one engineering stage at this point.

Also doing similar study for Chicago Avenue from Davis to Howard streets.

Report accepted and placed on file on a 6-0 vote.

P4 – Electric scooter regulations and share programs

Reid asks whether city plans to coordinate with Chicago on scooters.

Hyink says Chicago hasn’t decided who its vendor will be, expects public outreach over the winter.

Wynne complains about lack of turn signals on scooters.

Hyink says some manufacturers have offered lights — but not aware of any scooter share companies having turn signals yet.

Reid says he’s been looking at e-scooters and they seem to have bright headlights, but taillights are down at foot level — which isn’t so good.

Says seated, moped-like e-scooters are also becoming far more popular, and they have better lights.

Report accepted and placed on file on a 6-0 vote.

Meeting adjourned at 6:39 p.m. City Council meeting to start at 6:45 p.m.

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