Evanston’s Land Use Commission voted Wednesday evening to recommend that the City Council drop a rule that requires the event space Palmhouse to get city approval for each of its outdoor events.
The city’s planning manager, Elizabeth Williams, said staff reviewed the Palmhouse request and had no concerns about lifting it.
“Other similar uses in the community don’t have to come” to the city’s Design and Project Review Committee “prior to hosting events on their sites,” Williams said.
“To my knowledge there have been no complaints from any neighboring properties,” she added, “and that’s another reason why staff felt it’s appropriate to lift the restriction.”
Palmhouse co-founder India Mussell-McKay said the event space at 619 Howard St. has been open since June 2021.
Mussell-McKay said a lot of people booking events want to combine indoor and outdoor elements — a wedding might have cocktails or the ceremony itself outside while the main party occurs indoors.
“Most events don’t want to be outdoors at night,” she added.
She said Palmhouse rents nearby parking lots when its own lot is used for outdoor events and applies for a permit through the Fire Department when tents are used for those events.
Because of the current restriction on outdoor events, Mussell-McKay said, “we are losing business.”
The City Council will make the final decision on whether to lift the outdoor event approval restriction from the special use permit for Palmhouse.
The Land Use Commission had also been scheduled Wednesday to conduct a hearing on a proposal from Horizon Realty Group to construct an 18-story, 180-unit apartment building at 1621-31 Chicago Ave.
But that hearing was postponed until Sept. 14 because Horizon’s chief operating officer, Jeff Michael, was unable to attend because of health issues.