Evanston’s Plan Commission voted 7-0 this evening to approve a 12-story mixed use rental building at 1571 Maple Ave. that had been strenuously opposed by residents of the neighboring One Evanston condominium tower.

The commissioners concluded that the planned development project meets the provisions of the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning code and was generally consistent with the downtown plan.

Residents of One Evanston had argued that the project fails to comply with the downtown plan — but were hampered in making that case by the fact that the City Council has never adopted zoning changes that would implement various changes called for in that plan — including new height limits for the development site.

Associate Commissioner Stuart Opdycke, who was involved in the lengthy process of adopting the downtown plan several years ago, said he believes the development does meet one of its key goals — preventing the canyonization of Davis Street — by limiting the building’s height to three-stories along the Davis frontage and providing commercial storefronts there.

“I think it is in compliance with the intent of the Plan Commission when we established this traditional district,” Opdyche said.

And Commissioner Jim Ford noted that the downtown plan also proposed raising the height limit for the property just south of One Evanston to as much as 190 feet.

The project contains an unusual feature. While it will have 101 residential units, it will provide only 13 parking spaces on site, and those will be available for shoppers at nearby retail businesses during the day.

In addition, the developer will lease 101 parking spaces in the city’s underutilized Maple Avenue parking garage two blocks to the north — which will generate more than $100,000 a year in additional parking revenue to the city.

The developer has argued that the unconventional parking arrangement, along with the relatively small unit sizes in the project, will encourage people who don’t have cars and either walk or commute to work using the nearby rail stations to become tenants in the building.

To move forward, the project still requires approval by the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee and the full City Council.

Related stories

One Evanston owners complain of views they’d lose (12/18/14)

Developer: Design minimizes impact on neighbors (11/6/14)

Condo buyers — about that view … (10/3/14)

Maple project to gain height, separation from neighbor (9/26/14)

Former funeral home site to see new life (9/12/14)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Good for them. The resistance
    Good for them. The resistance to progress in this city is just alarming. No one group of people should be that powerful.

    1. I can think of a very

      I can think of a very powerful group of people that is nearly all powerful in Evanston. That would be the city council, mayor, and city manager. They appear to bend the rules all the time to approve favors for special people. Here are 2 examples:

      1. For this project, they grant building height exception and a parking variation to get around city code. Since the parking will be in a city garage, the city will probably give a special city rate.
      2. The EAC cheated on their lease for over 35 years at the mansion. For a dollar a year they where supposed to maintain the inside of the building while the city was to maintain the outside of the building. The EAC passed on their obligation and may cost the Evanston taxpayers more than a million dollars. The city could sue them but will not. The EAC is moving out of the mansion and into their owe building, which they bought for 1 1/2 million. Now the city is paying for much of the move and searched for a way to not charge them for about 50 thousand dollars in city inspection fees for the new building. They could not find a way without possibly having to grant the freebee to others. They have settled on having them pay for the inspections but giving them an equal amount through other means of assistance. Is this friends helping friends or does the EAC have a hold on the city?


      1. Only solution left

        Have the city government required to cut ALL associaiton with EAC and other arts groups.  No funding, no land/building give aways [all transaction arms length and reviewed by independent and non-Evanston] financial analysts and accountants. No support of any kind.

        They have screwed up [and over taxpayers] so many times, neither the government or the arts groups have any credibility.

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