A last-minute change introduced this week to a package of zoning updates would dramatically ease parking requirements for new developments in much of Evanston.
The proposal, from Ald. Devon Reid (8th), would expand existing Transit Oriented Districts to cover most of the eastern half of the city.
Current rules apply the less-restrictive TOD parking rules to areas within one-eighth mile of a rail transit station and to all property within a quarter mile of a station along main commercial corridors.
Reid’s proposal would expand that to include all areas within a half mile of a rail transit station.
The map below shows the existing boundaries outlined in black, and a rough approximation of what the new boundaries would be in red.
Reid said the change would allow construction of more affordable housing in those areas and help reduce transportation costs.
He said there’s research that clearly shows the distance people are willing to walk to transit is a half mile.
The city’s zoning administrator, Melissa Klotz, said city staff agrees with the proposed change, calling it a “best practice.”
There was some hesitancy about the change at Monday’s Planning and Development Committee meeting.
Ald. Clare Kelly (1st) wanted to hold the proposal until a future meeting, but didn’t get a second for that idea.
Ald. Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th) said the change would “add an awful lot of new territory” to the TOD districts, and Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) said she’s prefer to have a map showing the proposed changes before voting on it.
But in the end, Reid’s proposed change was included in the bundle of zoning amendments and it was approved for introduction at the full City Council meeting later that night.
Staff promised a new map would be available for review before the Council votes to adopt the bundle of zoning changes. That vote is scheduled for July 24.