Here’s a recap of our live coverage of tonight’s Evanston City Council Planning and Development Committee meeting, at which aldermen are scheduled to discuss the idea of permitting year-round sidewalk cafes in the city.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m.

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

Meeting called to order at 7:06 p.m.

P1 – Banquet Hall Palmhouse Productions special use permit on Howard Street

Rainey moves approval and suspension of the rules.

Says has never before seen such a “gleeful” meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals — everybody enthusiastic about it.

Recommended for approval with suspension of the rules.

Discussion item

PD1 – Permanent sidewalk cafes

Would permit affixing items to the public sidewalk.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, says should improve safety and usability of cafes.

Johanna Leonard, community development director, says will reduce lifespan of sidewalks, because of bolts used to affix objects, and proposed ordinance would provide for full restoration of the sidewalks.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, says she’s concerned about permanent obstructions.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, asks what stuff would be permanent?

Leonard says individual permits would return to council for approval — could be railings, tables, whatever was desired.

Wynne says she has concerns about snow removal.

Lara Biggs, city engineer, says restaurant owner would still be responsible for snow removal. Says will have to take that issue into consideration.

Packet says Colectivo Coffee is seeking a year-around cafe. Leonard says anticipates will get other requests if have the option.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says cafe materials tend to “migrate” now. Thinks this might help reduce that problem.

Revelle says should think about the aesthetics — not happy with the five-foot fence at Farmhouse. Leonard says they’ve been told that’s not part of their approved sidewalk cafe.

Consensus is to move forward with developing an ordinance

Second aspect of the discussion is whether should permit liquor service at sidewalk cafes for carry-out restaurants. Concern, Michelle Masoncup, corporation counsel, says issue is that those restaurants typically don’t have sservers. Masoncup says could require that they provide servers for the sidewalk cafes.

Fiske says, if have a server, what are we afraid of? Wynne says if is server then don’t think there’s a problem.

So staff has consensus to move orward with that idea as well.

Meeting adjourned at 7:32 p.m.

City Council meeting to start at 7:40 p.m.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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