With commission members and neighbors raising doubts about whether it provides enough parking, the Evanston Plan Commission Wednesday night delayed a vote on a mixed-use development planned for Chicago Avenue at Main Street.

The postponement came under a Plan Commission procedure that allows nearby residents who object to a project to automatically receive a one-meeting delay of the commission’s vote, ostensibly to give them more time to gather information to support their complaints.

The proposed nine-story building would have seven floors with a total of 112 rental apartments as well as one floor each of retail and office space on the first and second levels.

The proposal, from developer John O’Donnell, was prepared in close collaboration with city staff, which is supporting O’Donnell’s contention that, with 104 parking spaces, it provides sufficient parking for a development adjacent to two mass transit stations.

But several neighbors who spoke, and several plan commission members argued that it would actually need far more parking.

Community Development Director Mark Muenzer promised to have more data available about parking ratios for transit oriented developments in time for the commission’s next hearing on the project, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Let’s make the whole city into a parking lot!

    Let's just make the corner into a surface parking lot!  Maybe tear down the train stations and put up a parking garage! Will that satisfy the NIMBY's?   


  2. Parking numbers

    I admit this is a little old but the city's reported ("Neighborhood Planning Cimmittee; Chicago Avenue Pcorridor Recommendations Report") the following in 2000:

    Multi-unit residential car ownership survey averages for block groups near Chicago Avenue range from 1.33 to 1.48. The car ownership average at Northlight Condominiums at 811 Chicago Avenue is 1.11. (A subsequent finding of fact has indicated a slightly higher average of 1.23.) 

    Based on the lowest number, the building should be required to have at least 124 parking spots for residents. This, of course, doesn't cover the customers or employees of the two floors of businesses. 

    1. Heavy-handed parking minimums are a thing of the past

      Many communities are moving away from draconian parking minimums with the realization that the people developing and selling the buildings know the market.

      If this building were being proposed in Portland, Oregon there would only need to be 33 spaces.  

      There are two train stations within 20 meters of the building.  The old Evanshire Hotel (Where Bros. K is located) originally had 128 rooms and zero parking.  We survived.

      The main problem with the proposed development is the curb cut being allowed on Chicago Avenue.  It will degrade the pedestrian environment and decrease safety in the area.

      1. Portland is not Evanston

        "Many communities are moving away from draconian parking minimums with the realization that the people developing and selling the buildings know the market."

        This is akin to saying business doesn't need to be regulated because the business knows what is best. That is ridiculous. Regardless, no one knows the market better than the people who live there.

        Portland is not Evanston.

        The Evanshire Hotel building has two large city parking lots within 1 block walking distance. We need "draconian" parking miniumus because owning a car in the midwest is a birthright.

  3. Yet another cheap looking building

    This building is worse looking than the "extended stay" hotel building being proposed.  Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder.  Cheap looking is Cheap looking.  Whatever happened to architecture?

    1. Need more parking, not more condos

      The proposed site & surrounding area of SE Evanston is full of condo buildings.  As it is, during a snow emergency (as we've had), there simply isn't enough parking for all the cars.  Heck, even without a snow emergency!

      This building may be "targeting" the younger set but those people, once they have a kid or two, will need a car to transport their kids.  Plus, even healthy, hardy 20-somethings can break a leg, sprain an ankle, need a knee replacement which will magically create the need for an alternate mode of transportation.  Plus, those who stated that many people were moving to bikes as a form of transportation have selectively forgotten the older generation who may have no such option. Calculating less than one spot per unit is a grave mistake, IMO.

      As for the eco-friendly idea, what about electric cars?  They'd need a parking place!

      Building on this site will take long & careful thought.  Glad the decision has been postponed.  Time to rethink the intensely ugly look of the building as well…



      1. Proposed Building

        As a point of clarification, the building propsal includes 74 residential parking spots and 30 retail parking spots. The intent would be to rent out the 30 retail spots to the residents after business hours. 74 parking spots for 112 residental units (studios – 3 bedrooms) is not enough. The developers are also recommending that those with business in the complex do not park on the site which is not realistic.

        The design of the building seems as if it would fit much better in downtown Evanston than in this neighborhood. Perhaps a shorter building with more brick and less mirrored windows would be a better fit.

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