Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this evening’s Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeing.

The meeting was called to order at 6:05 p.m.

Minutes approved.

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

City payroll approved.

Bills approved.

CCTV pipeline inspection equipment $37K. Approved.

Vortex restrictors for water plant $70K. Approved.

Solid Waste disposal fees $1.123M.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says that’s a budgeted amount, expects actual costs will be substantially lower — and have seen decline in costs over the past several years as residents have started recycling more.


Water utility 48-inch intake improvement engineering services contract change order, increasing cost $675, but extending completion date by 12 months, to March 31, 2015.

Laura Biggs of the water utility says in an emergency situation a couple of years ago the city installed a heating element on the 54-inch intake pipe — which has worked well.

Says need to add it to the other two intake pipes over time to provide redundancy to meet system needs.

Says some other communities don’t have the heating system on their water intakes — but they tend to have much more on-site storage capacity at their water plants — as much as 48 hours worth — while Evanston has only about 12 hours of storage capacity.


Davis Street water and sewer project change order.

Increase is $58K.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, questions company’s decision not to hire an Evanston resident for the project. Staff says company said the job required skilled and union member worker and they couldn’t find one. Says city needs to do better job of requiring documentation from such contractors in the future.

Says work has already been completed.

Braithwaite wants detail on where the company advertised the position before voting to approve the contract.

Item held.

MWH Americas contract for engineering service for water supply transmission main study for Niles, Morton Grove, Park Ridge and Glenview.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says its a very exciting development. Utilities Director Dave Stoneback says two of the communities in the group are new — others had previously been interested in buying water from Evanston.

The communities are looking at another potential supplier besides Evanston.

Cost of study to Evanston just under $5K.

AT&T downtown Evanstion wi-fi network

Related story here.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says AT&T has determined it has insufficient coverage in the downtown area at peak usage times for its own customers.

Says for city it could have either generated rent or provide additional amenity for residents.

Says hopes to expand the extent of the coverage in the future.

Rainey and Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, both say they favor the public access model — say they see great benefit to that.


Vacant property fine — 1890 Maple

Braithwaite says developer is asking for the money to be directly refunded rather than used as an offset to future permit fees for the project.

Developer Bob King says project is on budget and on schedule (thought did lose about four days because of the recent extreme cold weather).

About 15 percent completed now. Plan completion by 2nd quarter of 2015 and initial occupancy before the end of this year.

Grover says wants to have a list of vacant properties online.

Rainey says one of the requirements for a vacant building is to not have a for rent or for sale sign out. Says this project already had been approved for a planned development — so there was no point in having such signs up. Says this is totally different status than what the vacant building ordinance was meant to address.

Rainey says real vacant buildings are a real problem and cause all sorts of issues — but sites approved for planned developments shouldn’t fall into that category.

Report approved with amendment to pay the money back as King requested

Northwest Center Against Sexual Abuse lease at Civic Center. Approved.

Collective Bargaining Agreement with International Association of Firefighters. Approved.

Purchase of 721-23 Howard Street property.

Related story here.

Rainey says BMO Harris — the bank that had foreclosed on the building — really appeared not to care — but after she complained about that at a recent meeting got some action.


Liquor license for Clarke’s

Owner says wants to be able to serve beer with a burger, bloody mary with brunch.

Says rent’s expensive — needs to increase revenue.

Alderman Holmes asks about hours for liquor sales — notes Starbucks wasn’t allowed to sell liquor until 4 p.m. This one says start at 11 a.m. Asks city attorney whether are being consistent?

City Attorney Grant Farrar says Starbucks was a special situation — it’s a novel business model.

Holmes says she’s concerned about restaurants serving families having liquor sales early in the day.

Grover says the Starbucks proposal was tied to just evening meal service.

Rainey says the ordinance is consistent for this liquor class — setting 11 a.m. as the start time.


Trader Joe’s — switch liquor license from Class G to Class F. Approved.

Lyfe Kitchen — Class C liquor license. Owner says it features all 600 calorie or less meals. Has one in River North, planning to open in April at 1603 Orrington Ave. Approved.

The Crystal Residence — Class C liquor license at 1611 Chicago Ave. (the former North Shore Hotel). Owner says plan to expand dining venues as part of rehab project and also do catered events in the ballroom. Approved.  (As an aside the new, new plan is to give the place a different name — not The Crystal Residence — which the owner doesn’t want to disclose yet – but the ballroom will be called “The Crystal Ballroom.”)

Lao Sze Chuan — Class C liquor license, 1633 Orrington Ave. Approved.

Boltwood — Class C liquor license, 804 Davis St. Approved. (aka HKK LLC.)

Related story here.

Class M liquor license — New liquor class to permit selling home-brew supplies to hobbyists. Have classes for making on site. Grover compares to a “paint your own pottery” place. Approved.

Discussion item: Purchasing electricity for city-owned buildings. Current three-year contract expires in May. City spends about $1.125 million a year.

Says new contract is likely to cost slightly more than current price. Recommends going with 100 percent green energy.

Catherine Hurley of city staff says energy efficiency projects have saved the city $180,000 in reduced electric costs at various city buildings between 2009 and 2012.

Meeting adjourned at 7:16 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting to start about 7:30 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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