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Planning and Development Committee

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

Meeting called to order at 7:49 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Sidewalk cafe for Pret A Manger at 1701 Sherman. Approved.

Community Partners for Affordable Housing application. $278K. Approved.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says there's a lot of affordable housing in Evanston that's not occupied. Says is inclined to give this new group a chance. But wants to know where the property will be located. Says got to show us the product.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, asks whether anybody ever looks at affordable housing anywhere but in the 2nd, 5th and 8th Wards.

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City staffer Sarah Flax says the approach proposed here helps get the best property for the lowest prices. Says proposal calls for staying out — on this purchase — of the two census tracts involved in the NSP2 program.

Says the prospective properties now being looked at are in the 2nd Ward, where the foreclosure crisis hit later than in the 5th and 8th wards.

Rainey says the urgency of having money on hand of a foreclosed property probably isn't real — says should be plenty of time to come to the city and say now we have a property identified.

Says she doesn't support land trust purchases.

Flax says CPAH, the proposed partner here, has taken over the CLCLT land trust property in Evanston.

Holmes says the group has an Evanston advisory board. Would have been nice to have a listing of the board.

Rainey moves to hold the project. Wilson seconds.

Community and Economic Development Director Steve Griffin says will have that information available — but not necessarily by the next meeting.

Housing Options for the Mentally Ill $459K HOME loan for rehab of 10 rental housing units. Approved.

Smiley Bros. 1615 Oak Ave … convert off-street parking to outdoor seating area. Owner says existing setup is dangerous for pedestrians. Change will make property more attractive and provide outdoor dining option.

Griffin says ZBA and staff are recommending approval.

Approved.

Hair salons as special use on Howard Street.

Richard Shure, plan commissioner, says it's a tough issue. But he's ended up favoring it. The Plan Commission as a whole voted 5-2 against the proposal.

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Rainey says Plan Commission vote was very hurtful to her request. Says there are about a dozen hair salons and similar uses in the area of Howard Street east of Ridge Avenue. Says there's bias against Howard Street and Church and Dodge. Wouldn't be allowed elsewhere in town.

Says many of the salons don't actually operate. Others are only open at night.

Says not asking that anything be done with those 12 shops. Says 13 is the tipping point. The next one going in should be a special use.

Says drive-ins and fast-food restaurants are a special use already.

Says Chicago requires special uses for beauty shops on Howard if there's already one within 1,000 feet.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says she wants to know more about the Chicago restrictions. Asks whether they have similar restrictions on other uses and in other areas than Howard Street.

Wynne says she's not necessarily opposed to the proposal. Says Evanston recently made its parking regulations match those on the Chicago side of Howard so the Evanston side didn't fill up.

Rainey says Chicago has effectively locke off certain areas from liquor licenses — and Evanston has been much more flexible.

Planning Manager Dennis Marino says businesses that stopped operating for a year would have to apply for special use to be re-established.

Rainey says one of the beauty shops has been there 30 years and others have been there a long time. But others have not been around very long.

Approved 4-1. Wilson votes no.

Related zoning map chainge also approved 4-1.

Meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

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