Evanston alders Monday are scheduled to consider a proposal from Ald. Devon Reid (8th) to bar truck traffic on streets leading to a long-standing local business.

Reid’s plan would bar trucks from the four streets that surround the Clesen Wholesale nursery location at 316 Florence Ave.

Neighbors voiced complaints earlier this year about trucks making pickups and deliveries at the business.

Neighbors claim the trucks block driveways, hit cars, use the street for storage and loading and work overnight.

The business, which dates back to 1941, appears to be the last of several greenhouse operations that once dotted that section of the city.

City parking officials last spring proposed several steps to try to address traffic concerns. It’s not clear from the information in Monday’s council packet whether those changes have been implemented or how effective they may have been.

A memo from the Police Department indicates that officers met with business owner Tom Clesen in June and that he agreed to several steps to try to address the concerns.

Clesen also told the police that the traffic issues occur mainly in May and early June, the business’s busiest time of the year.

A city staff memo on Reid’s proposal suggests that it would not actually be effective in reducing traffic to the greenhouse — because another provision of the city code permits trucks to use restricted streets if it is the only way to get to their final destination.

And it raises a concern from the city’s Law Department that if the restriction were effective, Clesen might be able to sue the city for inverse condemnation — because the restriction would effectively amount to a taking by the city of the current business value of the property.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Sorry for the inconvenience to the neighbors, but an even greater inconvenience would be created – barring truck deliveries to many more neighbors. That should be obvious to an alder. Reid’s idea is like using water to extinguish burning gasoline – it only makes the problem worse. If pursued, the city once again will lose big time in court and have some hefty legal bills for we taxpayers to pay.

  2. I’m sorry but I can’t take this guy seriously until he pays his rent.

    We have an alderman that refuses to pay rent. Let that sink in.

  3. The greenhouse has been thriving in that neighborhood for decades. People who live by the greenhouse had to know that they were buying a house near a commercial enterprise.

  4. Reid was so concerned about the legality of a prohibition on topless sunbathing, yet he expresses no concern, or even comprehension, of the obvious illegality/unenforceability of this truck prohibition where it is the only means of access. I’ve long ago given up hope he will do something helpful and now just hope he will do nothing at all.

  5. Businesses such as Clesen are vital to Evanston, to employ workers, and supply goods to businesses in and around Evanston. Clesen is a good neighbor, they support many activities in the neighborhood. From our vantage point in the 1500 block of Mulford we have observed their trucks following posted signage, observing posted speed limits and stops. (Which is more than I can say for many other vehicles.) We value Clesen Wholesare as a neighbor and strongly urge the Alderman and other neighbors to reconsider their position to seek to block Clesen trucks on our neighborhood streets.

    1. I’d suggest you all think of the neighbors perspective. All of the neighborhoods bringing up issues don’t want Clesens to go out of business and have tried to come up better solutions.
      How would you feel about 18 wheelers blocking your driveway numerous times a week not allowing you to get out? Trucks idling for 30+ minutes in front of your house? Semis arriving and beeping at 1am or 4am? Trucks hitting your car?

  6. This seems like a pattern. Those who own homes near NW’s football field & this business are unhappy with their proximity. The football field has been there for generations & so has this business. It didn’t stop people from buying homes nearby, but now they want the world to accommodate them. It doesn’t work that way & never will.

    1. Not the same issue. No one is objecting to the stadium or its operation. The concern is with a new one billion dollar stadium (unneeded) with new construction and new proposed uses for the stadium and the possible new costs to the city and neighborhood.

      1. Needed by the city as a whole, yes. The tax revenue is desperately needed for a functional government.

  7. My wife is starting to look for a retirement home. She wants to stay in Evanston. I’m inclined to agree with her, but the very existence of Reid makes my gaze wander to other, more rationally governed places to live.

  8. Bob, same here. Already looking elsewhere after 20 years. This current inexperienced and unfocused city administration is ruining what was once a jewel. As far as Reid, as someone may have stated, nothing he represents surprises any longer. And regarding this matter, analogous to buying a house next to the fire department and complaining of sirens…uggghh.

  9. Without question we will be moving after 51 years here

    Real estate taxes #1, with the 74% increase pop on Ward 6, Precinct 1 a couple of years ago

    And with the new mayor and council with a radical progressive agenda – with virtually no middle ground

    I know I no longer fit this town

  10. Until Reid pays his rent, I do not think he should be allowed to make proposals at city council meetings. Or maybe there needs to be a new rule/regulation/requirement for being an Alder. “Must pay rent in a timely fashion”. All the others seem to be able to figure out how to do it. Why can’t he?

  11. There was a time in Evanston where people found ways to coexist on many levels. I am among those residents who have happily lived, worked, played, attended schools and successfully raised children in these neighborhoods for generations. The property now occupied by Chute Junior High, or Middle School as it has been rebranded, was previously the location of the Leider Greenhouses, another long-time local business which moved to Aptakisic around 1965 when the City needed the property to accommodate an exploding Baby Boom generation of students. The Clesen’s are apparently the last surviving member of a group, many of them of Luxembourgers I think, that settled south Evanston, built Saint Nicholas Church and operated similar businesses providing work for so many over the years. At least the parking manager came up with a reasonable idea to create a staging area along the Skokie Swift embankment west of dodge, and that seems like a very workable solution.

  12. At this point Mr. Reid isn’t just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, he’s throwing everything in sight – wall be damned.

  13. After nearly a week, lots of angst, but few if any helpful suggestions to help Denise and her neighbors. I sent a 311 request to the city asking about installing a videocam to document and monitor the truck traffic: after three days I’m waiting for a response. Meanwhile, the icon on the 311 map has disappeared.

  14. A targeted truck ban proposal against a single long standing Evanston business is heavy handed, excessive, damaging, and yes prejudicial. It appears the City of Evanston is ill-equipped to manage these types of situations, yet there are numerous city resources available to address the complaints raised by the residents of the Evanston 8th ward.

    The Evanston 311 Center is really the best way to get things started. Alternatively, resident concerns related to business operations may be deferred to the Evanston Economic Development Office. Matters related to truck routes, roadway restrictions, commercial vehicles, should be directed to the Evanston Police Traffic Bureau. Parking restrictions and parking enforcement can be managed through the Evanston the Administrative Services department.

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