Evanston’s Land Use Commission is scheduled Wednesday to review a special use request from the Jewish Learning Foundation to purchase the Alpha Phi sorority national headquarters building at 1930 Sherman Ave.
In the JLI’s application, the group’s leaders say they plan to use the building daily for offices and hold weekly religious services on the Jewish Sabbath and all Jewish holidays as well as hold religious education classes on Sunday mornings.
The group is affiliated with the Jewish Learning Institute of Metropolitan Chicago and shares staff with the Tannenbaum Chabad House at 2014 Orrington Ave.
Rabbi Sholom Meir Hecht, in the application for the special use permit, says the group doesn’t plan to make any changes to the exterior of the building.
He says the group expects 20 to 40 people to attend services, but because of religious prohibitions on driving on the Sabbath, they are expected to walk, and not fill the 11 parking spaces behind the building.
The Land Use Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council, which has the final say on special use requests.
The city’s Design and Project Review Committee reviewed the proposal earlier this month and concluded it is appropriate for the site and the neighborhood.
DAPR did note that if two basement rooms are to be used as sleeping quarters they would have to be modified to provide emergency access and that the building may need some modifications to meet building code requirements for an assembly use.
Will this change of use take the building off the tax rolls?
If their religious use expands in the future, could they then apply to be property tax-exempt?
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