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New synagogue planned by reconstructionist congregation

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation at 303 Dodge Ave. is seeking city approval to demolish its 50-year-old synagogue and build a new, somewhat larger, more energy efficient building on the same site.

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation at 303 Dodge Ave. is seeking city approval to demolish its 50-year-old synagogue and build a new, somewhat larger, more energy efficient building on the same site.
The proposal is expected to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals in January. It won support from city staff at a meeting yesterday.
Congregation President Alan Saposnik said the new building would eliminate accessibility problems by locating the main entrance at ground level and providing two elevators inside.
He said the first floor would include a small worship space the congregation would use most frequently. The second floor would have classrooms and the third floor would include the main sanctuary and social hall.
The proposed height of the new building is 47 feet. The site’s R2 zoning allows a 35 foot height by right. The design also slightly exceeds the 40 percent lot coverage permitted in its zone.
The congregation has a 24-space parking lot across Mulford Street from the building. Zoning regulations call for 53 spaces.
Mr. Saposnik said the congregation has been trying to reach an agreement to lease parking space in the city’s Levy Senior Center parking lot across Dodge Avenue, but Community Development Director James Wolinski said most religious institutions in Evanston don’t conform to the onsite parking requirement, and that requesting a variation for the parking shortfall would be a simpler approach.
Mr. Saposnik says the congregation is working to win a gold rating, the second highest of four categories in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, for the new building.

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