Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’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 7:19 p.m.

Minutes approved

P 1 – Honorary street name sign — Hecky Powell Way — for Emerson Street between Asbury Avenue and Green Bay Road.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says its the 30th anniversary of Hecky’s restaurant this year.


P 2 – Honorary street name sign — Crown Family Way — for Dodge Avenue between Main and Lee streets.


P 3 – Special use and drive-thru for Starbucks at 1901 Dempster.

Replacing the long-vacant KFC.

Would be the seventh Starbucks in Evanston. The developer has done a similar renovation of a former KFC in Naperville. Hopes to be open in September or October of this year.

P 4 and P 5 – Alternative versions of a special use permit for a planned development at 1515 Chicago Avenue, for a Hyatt House extended stay hotel.

The P4 version would require preservation of an elm tree at the edge of the site. The P5 version would permit removal of the tree and install a new 9-inch caliper tree to replace it.

Community Development Director Mark Muenzer says the “top hat” has been scaled back to more of a “beanie.”

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Muenzer says saving the elm tree would require eliminating three parking spaces. Says the developer is opposed to that option.

The new tree, if that option is used, would be on the property line with the property to the south, and if couldn’t reach agreement with that property owner, the developer would provide a contribution to the city’s tree fund.

A rendering of the proposed extended stay hotel.

Developer Tom Blunk tells the committee that he can’t agree to the plan to save the tree — because it would cut too much into the available parking.

Says believes the hotel will generate $600K to $850K in new real estate and hotel tax revenue annually.

Public Comment

Virginia Beatty, 1509 Forest, favors saving the big tree, says its 36 inches in diameter at its base. Says the tree is probably 150 years old. Thinks it could live another 100 years.

Mike Taft, president of the Evanstonian cooperative at 1508 Hinman Ave., urges the use of porous paving and expresses fears about construction on the tight site.

Mark Muenzer, community development director, says will develop construction management plan. 

Another resident complains about lack of setback from the alley and says it would create undue traffic congestion in the alley.

— end of public comment —

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, recommends the version of the ordinance that would require preservation of the elm tree.

Praises developer for willingness to meet with residents and compromise.

Says could find another place to put parking spaces.

Alderman Rainey says has letter from Paul D’Agostino, the city’s forestry chief, says doubts the tree can survive the construction process.

Fiske says no guarantees with living things — if tree doesn’t survive, then the developer gets his parking space back.

On P4 vote is 3-2 in favor with Rainey and Holmes voting no.

On P5 vote is 5-0 in favor.

Rainey says, “We’ve resolved absolutely nothing, we’ll send both to the full council.”

Discussion items

Both discussion items … on Evanstion Housing Corporation and Land Use Review procedures … are held for a future meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

City Council meeting to begin at 8:45 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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