After months of discussion, the Evanston City Council agreed this week on a plan to let owners of light vehicles with commercial markings park them in front of their homes overnight.

The new rule would apply to vehicles weighing 8,000 pounds or less, whether they are passenger cars, SUVs or pickup trucks.

Currently those vehicles are not permitted to park at night on blocks where more than half the buildings are used for residential purposes.

The effort to change the rule started last fall, when Ald. Tom Suffredin (6th) — acting in response to a complaint from a constituent who’d gotten a ticket for parking his pickup at home — requested that the Council and city staff revise the rules.

By February Ald. Eleanor Revelle had proposed that the new permit system should include fleet vehicles — ones with “FP” plates — that a company might assign to an employee to take home from work.

And the Administration and Public Works Committee had directed staff to draft an ordinance to implement the change — and impose an extra fee for the parking permit.

By early June the staff proposal was calling for a $350 annual fee for anyone getting one of the permits and limiting the change to a one year pilot program that would be capped at 200 permits citywide.

But two weeks ago A&PW committee members cut the proposed permit fee to $200 for pickup trucks and called for making the permits free for passenger cars.

At the time, Ald. Devon Reid (8th) opposed reducing the the permit fee, saying someone with “weird signage” on their truck needs to pay the full $350.

But Monday night Reid proposed cutting the fee to $25 — and applying it to passenger 5vehicles as well as pickup trucks

That version of the plan was approved unanimously by the committee and approved for introduction by the full City Council.

The new version also limits the permits to 20 for each of the city’s nine wards. It would see the program expire after a year unless the council votes to extend it.

Final action on the proposed ordinance is scheduled for the July 11 City Council meeting.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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