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Recap: City Council committee meetings

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Here’s a recap of our live coverage of the Evanston City Council’s three committee meetings held this evening.

The Human Services Committee meeting is schedueld to start at 6 p.m., the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting at 6:15 p.m. and the Planning and Development Committee meeting at 6:45 p.m.

Packets with information on the agenda items are available online.

Human Services Committee

Meeting called to order at 6:10 p.m.

Minutes approved.

HS1 – Resolution calling for a treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons

Father Robert Oldershaw, emeritus pastor of St. Nicholas Church, speaks in favor of the resolution.

Several other speakers endorse the resolution.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, says the City Council approved a resolution in 1985 declaring the city a nuclear-free city. Several anti-nuclear weapons resolutions approved since then.

Resolution approved on 3-0 vote.

HS2 – Human Services Committee meeting schedule

Approved

HS3 – Review of police complaints

Future complaints will be accepted at the administrative adjudication office on the 2nd floor of the Civic Center or at the Police Department.

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, says hopes complaints will be processed more quickly in future.

Complaint reports accepted and placed on file.

Meeting adjourned at 6:38 p.m.

Administration and Public Works Committee to start at 6:45 p.m.

Administration and Public Works Committee meeting

Meeting called to order at 6:45 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Public Comment

Jeff Smith raises concerns about proposed referendum for non-partisan elections. Says it won’t clear up all the issues around municipal elections.

Says should have a special meeting to address those issues before the deadline for getting the referendum on the March 2020 ballot.

Consent agenda

Off consent ..

  • A4 – 12 replacement vehicles purchase
  • A6 – Parking garage rate increases.
  • A7 – Phoenix Security contract for security guards at civic center
  • A17 – Referendum for nonpartisan elections
  • A25 – Increasing parking tax in city-owned Sherman Plaza garage
  • A26 – Resident parking on Lincoln Street

Consent agenda approved.

A4 – 12 replacement vehicles purchase

Alderman Cicely Fleming, 9th Ward, asks about how the city is doing responding to her suggestion that the vehicles be resold to local residents.

Fleet services manager says is working with the legal staff about using other approaches than the current public public auction.

Says city code calls for auctioning the vehicles and selling them for highest value possible. Says city doesn’t have the staff to administer an internal auction.

Says many vehicles auctioned aren’t necessarily safe for use any more — which could raise liability issues.

Suggest anybody local who wants the vehicles should go through the commercial auction process.

Fleming says would like to have staff continue to work on it — doesn’t know whether people are interested in the cars — but would like to make available to citizens and small business owners locally.

Purchase approved unanimously.

A6 – Parking garage rate increases.

Related story.

Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, says he’ll vote no. Fleming says she’d like to vote no, but will vote yes so it can advance to the full council tonight.

Approved 3-1.

A7 – Phoenix Security contract for security guards at civic center

Suffredin says he’ll vote no.

Police Chief Demitrous Cook says need to have them for safety.

Approved 3-1

A17 – Referendum for nonpartisan elections

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she agrees with Jeff Smith’s comments earlier.

Says she was adversely affected by the issue in 1993.

Says proposal requires more work.

Says want the referendum to provide a very definitive answer.

Says doesn’t think aldermen have had enough input on it.

Hugh Dubose, assistant city attorney, says Council has to approve the referendum by Dec. 31 to get it on the March ballot.

Rainey asks how petition deadlines would be set, etc.

City Clerk Devon Reid says there are two problems — the city has been running non-partisan elections when it hasn’t designated the city as non-partisan.

Says also have issue with different filing periods and the referendum wouldn’t solve the filing period issue.

Rainey objects that the cost of having primaries for aldermanic races is so high as to make running prohibitive for many people.

Reid suggests adding another provision to align the primary schedule for mayoral and aldermanic candidates.

Rainey suggests moving the issue on to City Council for further discussion there.

Approved unanimously.

A25 – Increasing parking tax in city-owned Sherman Plaza garage

No discussion. Carries 3-1. Suffredin votes no.

A26 – Resident parking on Lincoln Street

Suffredin says need to find a way to get more parking near Metra stations. This extends the no-parking for commuters zone five to six blocks away from the station. Says it’s a real problem for people who live outside of walking distance but are still Evanston residents.

Mike Rivera, parking manager, says are working to get more parking options in NU lot on Ashland.

Carries 3-1. Suffredin votes no.

A2 – Amazon credit card activity

Approved 3-0-1. Suffredin abstains.

Public Comment

Elliot Zachin says should have more public input on selection of new city manager.

Rainey says there will be interviews Friday of companies under consideration to do the job search.

Says will come up with a schedule for the search once the consulting company is selected.

Meeting adjourned at 7:43 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee meeting to start at 7:48 p.m.

Planning and Development Committee

Meeting called to order at 7:50 p.m.

Minutes approved.

Public Comment

Ben Schapiro speaks in favor of amendments to coach house rules. Says need higher height limits, though.

Dick Co, of Evanston Development Cooperative, objects to restriction of height for coach houses proposed by Plan Commission.

Kelsey Davis objects to proposed parking change at St. A’s church.

Additonal people speak in opposition to the St. A’s proposal.

P1 – 2441 Ridge/840 Milburn resubdivision

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, recommends approval, despite staff recommendation of disapproval.

Johanna Leonard, community development director, says would prefer a straight line rather than the zig-zag boundary in the proposed plat.

Approved 5-1. Revelle votes no.

P2 – Expanding off-street parking for St. Athanasius School

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, says issue requires a difficult balance.

Would make for safer play area for kids and create a larger, well designed parking area for teachers and staff.

But says it doesn’t solve the alley congestion problems. And neighbors have raised other traffic concerns.

Suggests doing new traffic study. Suggests tabling the proposal until February for that study.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says should hire consultant for the study. Otherwise takes staff time. Says developers pay good money for such studies.

Lara Biggs, city engineer, says the study would require a fairly significant time commitment, but could be done in house.

Wilson seconds motion to table. And it’s approved.

P3 – Accessory dwelling unit requirements and qualifications

Revelle recuses because she’s a member of the Evansston Development Cooperative

Wilson says can introduce as is tonight and then work out the height issue before final approval.

Related story

Approved for introduction, with amendment removing the height provision added by Plan Commission

P4 – Extension of time for 1815 Ridge building permit

Approved

P5 – Special use for cannabis dispensary at 1804 Maple

Approved.

Meeting adjourned at 8:23 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 8:30 p.m.

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