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Members of Evanston’s Plan Commission voted 6-0 tonight to recommend to the City Council downtown plan amendments that would extend the downtown area north to the Foster CTA station.

The proposal is designed to encourage more transit-oriented and mixed use development close to the rapid transit station, but it only increases proposed height limits beyond current zoning in some portions of the area.

Assessing the impact of the changes is complicated because most of the new planning districts incorporate multiple existing zoning districts, which have different height limits.

But generally the downtown north proposal would significantly increase height limits along Emerson Street while changing them very little along Foster Street.

Tina Paden.

Tina Paden, who owns two small apartment buildings and a commercial storefront in the 1000 block of Emerson Street, said a height of six to 10 stories on that block “is ridiculous” and voiced fears about what would happen to her property if the new plan is adopted.

Plan Commission Chair Jim Ford said, “Nothing is going to happen to that property as long as you own it and don’t change the use.”

“If you choose to sell it, what happens depends on what you and the buyer agree to do on it — and that may require a rezoning, depending on what’s proposed.”

“But you remain in the driver’s seat,” Ford added, “as long as you don’t sell the property.”

Related story

How much commercial use is enough? (12/15/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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