Northwestern University officials seek approval from an Evanston city staff committee Wednesday to rebuild the parking lot across Ashland Avenue from Ryan Field.

The plans would add extensive landscaping around the perimeter of the lot and replace an existing driveway off Ashland Avenue with a pedestrian walkway leading to the stadium entrance.

A rendering of the pedestrian walkway.

But to achieve a net gain of 15 parking spaces and included handicap-accessible spaces, the plan also calls for reducing a roughly 175-foot buffer between the lot and Isabella Street to slightly less than 39 feet.

The proposed buffer at the Central Street side of the lot would increase from less than four feet now to 30 feet.

The parking lot buffer along Isabella Street in an image from Google Maps.

That may not sit well with Wilmette residents living across Isabella Street from the parking lot. Some Wilmette neighbors just east of the lot recently have complained about plans to add a larger scoreboard to the Rocky Miller baseball park at the north end of the Ryan Field complex.

A rendering of planned landscaping for the parking lot along Isabella Street.

After review by the city’s Design and Appearance Review Committee Wednesday, the parking lot rebuild plan will go before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

A rendering of the proposed new landscaping along the Central Street side of the parking lot.

After the renovation, the parking lot would hold 899 cars. The project requires a zoning variation to maintain the existing five-foot setback along Ashland Avenue, where the zoninc code would typically require a 15 foot setback.

Update 2/5/16: Northwestern University will hold an informal information session on the proposed reconstruction of the parking lot at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the Team Meeting Room on the first floor of the John C. Nicolet Football Center, 2707 Ashland Ave., on Northwestern’s athletics campus.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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