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Neighbors support condo project

Oakton Place

Oakton Place

In a rare scene for the Evanston Plan Commission, more neighbors turned out Wednesday to support than oppose a planned five-story condo development at 959 Dobson Ave.

Oakton Place

In a rare scene for the Evanston Plan Commission, more neighbors turned out Wednesday to support than oppose a planned five-story condo development at 959 Dobson Ave.

Oakton Place

An architect's model of Oakton Place looking northeast. 

The proposed Oakton Place development from developers Thomas, Matheos, and George Douvikas won unanimous support from the commissioners.

The project would include 33 one- and two-bedroom condo units with 45 garage parking spaces.

Marcel Eberle of 1102 Brummel St. said he'd attended four community meetings with the developer over the past 18 months. "The developers have been very responsive to our concerns. I think the project now is quite wonderful and will fit in the area," Mr. Eberle said.

The developers had originally proposed a six-story building with a semi-circular drive in front. To address neighbors' concerns, they reduced the building's height, eliminated the drive to create more room for landscaping and relocated the building to be further away from single family homes across the alley.

Jeri Schmidt of 1200 Dobson St. said she believed the new building would be much better for the neighborhood than the three dilapidated brick apartment buildings on the site now.

Architect Robert Kirk said the building will use natural stone, red brick and cedar shakes for its exterior finishes, picking up on Arts and Crafts design motifs that are frequently used in the single family homes of the neighboring Oakton Historic District.

Not everyone was happy with the project, though.

Arkady Kats, a developer of the smaller condominum project under construction next door at 140 Ridge Ave., said the parking ramp for the new building is too close to his building and that he believes the proposed structure is too large for its site.

Plan Commissioner Alice Rebechini suggested reducing the number of units in the building by five, to come closer to the 22 units permitted by right for the site under the zoning code.

But Mr. Kirk said the developers' sales force believes the planned smaller units would be much more salable, given the location on Evanston's south side.

"Larger units would be more expensive than many single family homes in the area," he said, "We don't want to build 2,500 square foot condo units when the houses next door have only 2,000 square feet."

The next step for the project is review by the City Council's Planning and Development Committee, scheduled for Feb. 12.

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