Evanston Mayor Lorraine Morton this evening vetoed the inclusionary housing ordinance approved on a 5-4 vote by the City Council earlier this month.

The mayor said the ordinance would be “unmanageable and a nightmare to administer.”

She also said the ordinance, which could add more than $8,000 per unit to the cost of a condo, “may discourage developers large and small from continuing to invest in Evanston.”

Alderman Edmund Moran, 6th Ward, a prime backer of the ordinance, said he was “profoundly disappointed” by the mayor’s veto.

He said a city consultant’s economic analysis of the ordinance, which the mayor cited in her veto message, “ignored a vast amount of data about the thousands of affordable housing units created throughout the country” using similar regulations.

Alderman Cheryl Wollin, 1st Ward, said the aldermen still need to address the issue “even if we have to start all over and work for another four years.”

“We’ve got to have something we can live with that will accomplish something,” Ald. Wollin said, “This ordinance was not going to result in grand numbers of new affordable housing units. However it was a principled position and a beginning.”

The mayor noted that Evanston is the only community on the North Shore that has double the state requirement that 10 percent of housing units be affordable.

She cited several existing public and private programs to create and maintain affordable housing in the city and said Evanston now has $3.75 million in funds available to create additional affordable housing.

She said she and every member of the city council “are totally committed to some form of affordable housing.”

But she said the ordinance she vetoed would have benefited only a very small number of people and would have left them exposed to unpredictable monthly expenses that could force them into foreclosure.

She proposed that the aldermen instead adopt an impact fee ordinance that would apply to all developments of 15 or more housing units. “All new developments stretch city infrastructure and services,” the mayor said, arguing the impact fee could free up additional resources in the city budget that could be used to fund affordable housing programs.

Related story

Council hikes new housing tax – Jan. 9, 2007

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. What is the city doing with the $3.75 million in funds?
    Bill – the article stated we have $3.75 million in affordable housing funds – does anyone know what we are doing with that money? I recently thought council members ask for some accountable on current programs?
    It appears the city is not wisely using current funding?

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