Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this evening’s Evanston City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting.

Meeting called to order 7:17 p.m.

packet with information on agenda items is available online.

Minutes approved.

Bond volume cap resolution approved.

Sidewalk Cafe for Found, 1631 Chicago Ave.

Resident living across the street at 1630 Chicago objects to eliminating the flower bed in front of the restaurant. Also says concerned about traffic and noise and vermin and width of sidewalk and problems for elderly walking from North Shore Hotel to Whole Foods.

Johanna Nyden of city planning staff says representative the North Shore have welcomed the new .

Restaurant owner says that result will be larger sidewalk than exists now. Says restaurant gets a lot of customers from the North Shore and from the Mather.

Will be removing bushes immediately in front of the restaurant that she says now “look kind of shabby.”

Plan to add herbs and colorful flowers to the seating area.

Sidewalk cafe approved.

Increase in micro-distillery production limit in zoning code. Approved.

Indoor recreation as special use in I2 district.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she opposes allowing non-commercial uses as part of this change.

Says after long lawsuit still underway about uses of I2 districts (this is reference to proposal for a religious school that was rejected by the City Council) … says means city won’t get the property tax revenue.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, seconds.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says a lot of the sports organizations are non-commercial. So they wouldn’t be eligible to do this.

Dennis Marino of planning staff, says there are two current proposals — one for commercial business that would have non-profits using its planned space on Oakton. Other proposal is from a non-commercial entity that wants to open a sports practice facility on Dempster Street.

Marino says council could set whatever conditions it wanted on the special use.

Rainey says the Oakton project is commercial, won’t be off the tax roles. But doesn’t want I2 property off the tax rolls.

Wilson says understand’s Rainey’s point.

Ken Cox, of city’s legal staff, says “commercial” isn’t a defined term in the zoning ordinance.

Wilson says just eliminating the word “commercial” won’t mean that non-for-profits would be precluded from using the property and taking it off the tax roles.

But Rainey says even vacant industrial spaces are paying substantial property taxes.

Vote on Rainey’s amendment to retain “commercial” in the definition of what’s allowed.

Unanimous in favor of the amendment.

Vote on the ordinance as amended. Unanimous in favor.

Yard Waste Transfer Facilities

Marino says proposed zoning change came as request from would-be business operator.

Land is currently vacant. West of Home Depot and just east of the canal.

No existing zoning category fits the proposed use.

Citizen Comment

Coleen Burrus, 1312 Cleveland (also 9th Ward alderman, but she’s not on this committee).

Says she wants the proposal held in committee because of concerns about possible odor issues raised by residents.

Clark Chipman, 2007 Seward St., says opposed to the project. Cites the old city recycling center — says it caused obnoxious odors — made residents unable to enjoy their own yards. Fears could be more applications after the current one.

Raises concern about the size of the operation and thinks should have a structure to enclose the site.

Ann Brownell, 616 Grey, says a neighbor, who runs a landscape business, is concerned about odor from mulch at the center and drifting dust — as well as the yard waste.

Al Maiden, 910 Wooden Parkway, consultant to the property owner, says it’s not a compost facility — just transfer facility. Says property owner has to look at other permitted uses if this not permitted — some of them are more “intense” than this, he says.

Scott Schuler, Contour Landscaping, 3501 Jarvis in Skokie, says he’s owned the property for over 25 years. Says it would be a transfer station — not a composting facility. Says hasn’t determined exact dimensions of the storage area, but that under state guidelines the material has to be covered.

Says it would be roofed-over and kept dry.

Steve Griffin, community and economic development director, says the the size of the storage area would be part of the application for the special use permit.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says based on operation at Veolia, says based on that the anticipates the storage areas would be very large.

Another owner of the business says a bin on site now would hold abou 100 yards of material. Trucks to haul it away would carry either 40 or 80 yards.

Says would clean out the bins on the weekend as well as during the week.

Griffin says Burrus has asked staff for more research on odor issues.

Committee votes to hold the issue until next meeting.

Vacation rentals — Vote, without discussion, is to remove the current two proposed ordinance from the agenda in anticipation of a new one to be presented at May 13 meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

City Council to start at 8:15 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *