Evanston’s Land Use Commission Wednesday night voted to recommend City Council approval of a 44-unit affordable housing development but opposed construction of a new church next door.

The vote in favor of the housing development at 1811-1815 Church St. was 4-3 with one commissioner recusing himself. The vote against the church at 1801-1805 Church St. was 5-3.

The proposed Mt. Pisgah Ministry building at Church and Darrow, with the planned HODC apartment building just to the west.

The project plans depend on a land swap between the Mt. Pisgah Ministry and the Housing Opportunity Development Corporation to build the housing development on the existing church site.

So it appears unlikely either development will proceed unless City Council approves both.

Tina Paden said, “We don’t need any more” affordable housing in the 5th Ward.

Several neighbors opposed both projects — claiming the 5th Ward is already saturated with affordable housing and that parking for the church is inadequate.

Sarah Flax.

But Interim Community Development Director Sarah Flax said the city has been adding affordable housing units — mostly downtown — through its inclusionary housing ordinance in recent years,

It addition, she said, 60 affordable units for seniors opened recently on Howard Street in the 8th Ward and a new all-affordable development is being planned for a city-owned parking lot in the 3rd Ward.

Commissioner Jeanne Lindwall said the 44 new housing units would bring new customers to the shops in the Church and Dodge shopping district.

And Commissioner Myrna Arevalo, who lives in the 5th Ward, said that while some people don’t like change, there is a big need for affordable housing in the ward.

On the other hand, Commissioner Kristine Westerberg said the housing project required far more variations than the commission usually approves.

Regarding the church, some commissioners expressed doubts about whether Mt. Pisgah will be able to raise the funds to construct its new building, and others said the parking proposed was insufficient for the demand the church was likely to generate.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. It’s interesting how they said the church was to big for the space but the apartment building that’s bigger is not, fishy very fishy!
    I guess this missed the show of banding never seen before by a ward! 5 ward residents came in with red shirts with protest slogans such as modernized redline, invest on the people and not corporations! 5th ward came in strong and fighting and we will not stop fighting till there’s affordable housing spread out through Evanston! Stop modernized redling and segregation!

  2. Let me continue to be that voice in the wilderness that calls upon our elected leaders to please focus on approving more market rate housing and de-emphasize affordable housing.

    I wish we would repeal our inclusionary housing ordinance and instead prioritize rubber-stamping development projects.

  3. This program works by lowering property taxes to owners who commit to affordable housing goals. That shifts their property taxes to other owners, thereby making other housing more costly…

    Consider splitting a lunch tab – if one diner shorts his/her share, the rest of the diners have to make up the difference…

    Basically it’s how the tax ‘pie’ is split. If one property pays less tax, the rest of the ‘pie’ has to make up the difference…

    Gregory Morrow – Evanston 4th Ward resident

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