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

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 6:08 p.m.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, is absent.

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.

Bills approved

A3.1 – Consulting contract with SmithGroup JJR for boat ramp renovation project. Approved.

A3.2 – Membership in the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory. Related story.

Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Jamraz says the critical advantage, over using the state police crime lab, is that the NIRCL can turn around results in an average of 28 hours, rather than months and years for the state crime lab.

Says Evanston submitted 557 evidence items to the state lab last year. Says need quicker response so can get cases to court and decisions more quickly. Says now run into statute of limitations issues in some cases.

Lab has 14 full time certified analysts.


A4 – Change order (contract extension) for finished water metering improvement project. approved.

A5 – Approval of FY2013 audited annual financial report.

Jason Coyle of independent auditor Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, presents the report.

Says making several recommendations, mostly same as in past years.

One difference — found a $860K reimbursement from MWRD for a sewer project that should have been recorded in 2013 but wasn’t planned to be recorded until 2014. Net effect is to make the 2013 balances look better.

Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says he’ll be meeting with Moody’s and Fitch rating services on July 23 to discuss the city’s bond ratings.

Report accepted.

A6 Release of closed session minutes. Approved.

A7, A8 … end of liquor licenses for Mumbai Grill, 1728 Sherman Ave. and Royin Sushi Bar 1930 Central. Approved

A9 Plastic bag ban ordinance.

Dick Peach, 1414 Greenleaf St., says in his west side neighborhood there’s a lot of problem with paper trash — bags, cups, all sorts of other stuff. Plastic bags not so much of a problem.

Says education, encouraging people to recycle and use reusable bags, is much better approach.

Says 52 businesses in Evanston would be affected — including businesses like Harold’s Hardware on Central Street, which pulled all its plastic bags and went to recyclable ones — which now would be banned under the proposed ordinance.

Jim Nelson, of Forest Avenue, says he’s worked for various industrial firms on waste management issues. “Up to my eyeballs in solid waste issues for a long time,” he says.

He says he’s surprised Evanston would be considering a plastic bag ban.

Says this is a feel good initiative that really won’t do much.

Says most of the reusable bags are made in China — which has some of the worst environmental problems in the world. Says using more of those bags wouldn’t help the environment overall.

Says Evanston is darn clean, the litter problem here is not that great. Ordinace would be like trying to peel a grape with an axe.

Jeanne Lindwall, 625 Library Place, says the June 5 meeting was described as the beginning of a dialogue and information gathering process — says hasn’t been any outreach to the business community or other groups — so the introduction of the ordinance is premature.

Also says at the meeting it became clear that there’s not a good baseline of data for deciding how many bags are being used.

Says Chicago ordinance, on which Evanston’s is based, is poorly drafted and has a lot of issues.

Says it calls for using compostable bags — but there’s no recycling facility in the area for those.

Says health department should be focused on restaurant safety and other important issues — not plastic bags. Similar concerns regarding community development department.

Says single use plastic bags actually turn out to be most economical bag to use.

Just because Chicago did it doesn’t mean it’s right for Evanston, Lindwall says.

Betty Sue Ester, 2031 Church St., says city used to recycle plastic bags at the recycling center.

Says ordinance would inconvenience people.

Rosemary O’Neill, 2044 Sheridan Road, says this is like beating a dead horse. Says there are always going to be slobs. Says there a lot of things more important in town for council to address. File it away and recycle it, she says.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says one of ways to make things better is to bring to the public arena — without a proposal don’t have anything to work from. Doesn’t think that means it’s being pushed through.

But says she doesn’t like the ordinance and isn’t ready to vote on it tonight.

But then says she’d prefer to have it introduced and taken to full ocuncil and then returned to committee.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, thanks Catherine Hurley, sustainability coordinator for developing the proposal … and she wants to “get rid of these awful bags that litter our streets.”

Committee votes to introduce the ordinance.

A10 – Authorizing 2014 general obligation bond issue. Approved.

Discussion items

Class D Liquor License

Grant Farrar, corporation counsel, says proposing to split “Class D” licenses … that deal with restaurants …into “D1” and “D2” … D1 would be able to serve all types of liquor … D2 would be only beer and wine.

Also proposes changing language to limit sales only to “patrons who are actually served a complete meal.”

Rainey says — what about “small plates” says “complete meal” is difficult to define.

Suggest maybe phrase it “during the service of meals.”

Alderman Delores Holmes says it should be just that food is served.

Burrus says defining “complete meal” becomes a no-win situation. What if you have a sandwich but don’t take the chips?

Grover asks what language would make it easy for restaurant servers to know what’s appropriate.

Rainey says “should make it as simple as we can” … but that after suggesting maybe three different subcategories for class D licenses.

Chicago Avenue Sheridan Road Project Discussion

Suzette Robinson previews info that will be presented at Saturday’s workshop at the library.

Consultant says ….

Pedestrians and bicyclists victims of most of the accidents along the corridor .. and with most serious injuries.

Says number of pedestrians and bicyclists is almost equal to the number of motorists.

Alderman Burrus repeats some of the complaints she raised at last week’s Parking and Transportation Committee meeting.

Grover says the consultants really have thought about every aspect of the situation — its more than parking and trees, she says. Looking to create comfortable ways for average cyclists to get around.

City manager says will put the presentation online and invites people to come to the Saturday morning meeting.

Want to do something that makes sense, he says. Bringing together pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles is a major undertaking, he says, and want to do it right.

Says meeting will be Saturday at 9 a.m. at Rotary International Building. (Moved from the public library for more space.) Will have a ride of the corridor starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Meeting adjourned at 7:37 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting to start at 7:45 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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