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Planning and Development Committee

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

Meeting called to order at 8 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Minutes approved

Sidewalk Cafe for JT's Bar and Grill at 1639 Orrington. Approved.

Sidewalk Cafe for World of Beer, 1601 Sherman. 

Marilyn Ruiz of 1580 Sherman live's across the street from Fountain Square. Says World of Beer customers smoke in Fountain Square.

Plan calls for outdoor cafe to be on the Orrington Avenue side of the building and that access will be from the Orrington Avenue entrance to the building.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says plans to work with World if Beer to deal with issues of smoking around the building.

Sidewalk cafe request approved.

Eliminating off-street parking at 623-27 Howard Street. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says the garages on the property hadn't been used for parking for at least the past quarter century. Says there are several vacant parking lots in the immediate area. Suggests only requiring parking space leases for the evening, rather than 24-hours a day. (6 p.m. to midnight.)

(Zoning Board of Appeals had required leasing eight spaces 24-hours a day.)

Approved as amended.

Vacation rentals

Proposal would regulate vacation rentals in a fashion similar to bed and breakfast establishments — requiring a special use permit. Related story.

Kim Novi says this seems to address most of our concerns.

Mary Rosinski realtor in Evanston says she's concerned about impact on properties where building is for sale — and need a rent-back temporarily. Says appears this ordinance would prohibit that.

Says shouldn't create an additional burden on sales, given the revenue the city gets from real estate transfer tax.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says agrees with Rosinski. Says has some other concerns as well regarding impact on bed and breakfast ordinance.

Wilson moves that the proposal be held in committee to seek staff revisions. Says there are some cross-references that don't match up.

Rainey suggest instead that introduce and return to committee.

Bobkiewicz says what other exemptions. Wynne suggests one for renting to neighbor while house is under repair.

Rainey suggests having an exception process that staff could administer.

Committee approves having staff come up with a process for administrative exceptions and an exemption for lease-back in connection with sales.

Yard Waste Transfer Facilities

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said that at a community meeting earlier this month concerns were resolved. Ordinance approved.

1890 Maple Avenue parking lease

Rainey says procedure for parking in the research park area developed in the 1980s called for off-site parking at new office buildings in the area. 

Says in recent years the parking hasn't been used, because the building has been vacant.

Wilson says we're not giving them anything because they don't owe us anything.

Rainey suggests negotiating a zero fee.

Bobkiewicz says unless make specific findings could have some liability moving forward. Wants to see the 2000 lease removed from the property. Says there are questions regarding the validity of the lease and want to resolve those so no question in the future that this might have represented a gift of public funds.

Wynne says the leases were intended for office buildings — King plans to build residential buildings that will include parking — so with the change of use there's no need for the parking lease.

Fiske says because people were parking in the spaces and paying for them — so the city's not out any money.

Approved.

Meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

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