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Recap: Planning and Development Commmittee

The committee moved revisions to 16-story senior living development on to the full City Council.

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

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

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

The committee is scheduled to consider revisions to a planned development to build a 16-story senior living tower at 1900 Sherman Ave.

Meeting called to order at 5:27 p.m.

P1 – Special use permit for Dempster Snack Shop, 1806 Dempster.

Owner Daniel Dean says wants to open a small convenience store that would sell bread and garbage bags and other convenience items.

Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) says he’s concerned that it could become a smoke shop.

Dean says he does plan to sell tobacco products, but doesn’t want to be primarily a smoke shop.

Nieuwsma moves to table until committee’s first meeting in January.

Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) asks what’s the goal post? No tobacco sales?

Nieuwsma says wants some limits — not total ban. Says there’s already a smoke shop around the corner on Dodge.

Dean says he’s been paying rent since August, concerned about delay.

Ald. Peter Braithwaite (2nd) says its in his ward and he’s willing to work with him to come up with a solution.

Ald. Bobby Burns (5th) says city has banned tobacco sales at a convenience store at Church and Dodge — because it’s close to ETHS — wants to see ordinance applied evenly.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) suggest less than 50%.

Johanna Nyden, community development director, says staff has been concerned about potential traffic backups in the area.

Says existing rule bars tobacco sales within 150 feet from any elementary, middle or high school.

Nyden says if sales of tobacco were greater than 50% it would no longer be a convenience store — so wouldn’t meet the zoning code.

Wynne suggests revising the ordinance to specify that.

Nieuwsma withdraws his motion to table the ordinance.

He moves to amend the ordinance to limit tobacco sales to 50% of total sales.

Amendment approved 7-0.

Ordinance as amended approved for introduction on a 7-0 vote.

P2 – Major adjustment to planned development at 1900 Sherman

Public comment includes two neighbors concerned about limited parking and other issues.

Sue Loellbach, from Connections for the Homeless, says the modifications are reasonable and the building will provide a significant amount of affordable housing — urges support for amendments to let the project move forward.

Rich Monocchio, executive director of the Housing Authority of Cook county, says the development, known as The Emerson, will provide more affordability downtown than any other development.

Says its the ideal way to build such a building — as a mixed income building. The higher rents for market-rate units will subsidize the affordable units, he says. Says it will be a model for the rest of the county and the rest of the country.

HACC presentation says E2 building has 175 unused parking spaces available and The Link development next door ha 100 spaces available.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) says she supports the project. Says two of the changes make the building smaller. Says Evanston has a critical need for affordable housing for seniors — and this project will add 51 affordable units at once Haven’t had a project like that ever — usually it’s just two or three per project. Says can’t possibly replicate that without using this model of mixing market rate rental units with the affordable ones.

Says new building at southeast corner of Main and Chicago — The Main — has demonstrated that it doesn’t need the extra parking the city had demanded they lease.

Says now have a wasting asset of empty parking in the immediate area of the proposed new building.

Ald. Devon Reid (8th) says private market can sort itself out regarding parking. Suggests perhaps giving an option here to reduce the leased parking required, if its not used.

Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) says can’t compare Main and Chicago. Says she’s sickened by the lack of regard for the residents of the Perlman building. Says they’re very upset about this.

Says they’re losing open space, a parking lot, trees.

Johanna Nyden says less than a month ago the owners of The Link submitted a zoning analysis for a new building to the north of the existing one. Says the proposal calls for more parking in the new building. Says would likely still have around 88 units available in the original Link building.

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) says original planned development called for having a written lease for 50 additional parking spaces before issuance of a building permit.

Approved 6-1. Kelly votes no.

Meeting adjourned at 7:07 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 7:10 p.m.

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