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

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 7:17 p.m.

Minutes approved.

P1 – Little Beans Cafe special use permit.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says it’s the former Osco Drugs site that’s been vacant for years

Says really thrilled, the project meets all the criteria for a special use.

Details here.


P2 – 935 Chicago Ave. special use — 9-story mixed use commercial, office and residential building.

Related story: Chicago-Main project gets Plan Commission OK

A rendering of the proposed Chicago-Main building.

A drawing of the planned second floor level — showing setbacks at the north and south sides of the property.

Scott Bernstein, president of Center for Neighborhood Technology, addresses transit-oriented development issues related to the project. Says trends are toward fewer people per household and fewer cars per household. Says it’s happening across the country.

Scott Bernstein.

Reports on survey of car ownership in the immediate area (similar to his testimony at Plan Commission meeting).

Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, says seems transit oriented development building can both respond to trend toward having fewer cars and try to encourage the trend. How to maximize that?

Bernstein suggests offering transit reports on LCD screens in building. Says there are various smart phone apps that let people sublet their parking spaces.

Developer John O’Donnell says the below-grade parking will be much more expensive — but works well with the site. Says will seek LEED Silver designation for the building.

Says trying to create a building and go after a certain type of person — young professional couples and empty nesters — who may be giving up their cars. Will have a plan to subsidize the use of public transportation.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, suggests putting parking meteres in the retail spaces. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says can’t control retail parking unless have parking enforcement, likes Fiske’s idea. Developer says could consider that.

Public Comment

Woman complains about parking and congestion issues in the alleys.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, says she doesn’t see it as a real negative.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, says has asked staff to look at alley and see how can use enforcement efforts to make the alley more accessible. Especially concerned some dumpsters may not be where they should have been.

Another speaker concerned about amount of parking provided.

Carl Bova, 1322 Rosalie, says there’s been no reduction in cars in Evanston in the last 20 years.


Reference data:

Cars per household in Evanston as of 2010 Census


Several other speakers raise objections to parking and congestion.

A commercial realtor, Charles Portess of 1212 Lake Shore Blvd., says he believes the office space in the project is well conceived — believes it will lease up quickly.

— end of public comment —

Committee chair, Melissa Wynne, proposes holding the issue in committee until the April 28 P&D meeting. (Says many members will miss the next P&D meeting, April 14, because it falls during spring break.)

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, moves instead that the proposal be introduced at City Council tonight and then referred back to committee … for further review April 28.

(Otherwise the project couldn’t win final approval until May 12.)

Wynne accepts Rainey’s suggestion and the committee votes to follow that approach.

Meeting adjourned.

City Council meeting to start in a few minutes.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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