A proposal by Ald. Devon Reid (8th) designed to ban trucks from reaching the Clesen Wholesale nursery will be back on the City Council agenda Monday after being tabled last fall.

Neighbors voiced complaints in the spring of 2022 about trucks blocking driveways, hitting cars and loading and working overnight at the business that according to the company website has been in Evanston since 1941.

In response, Reid proposed banning truck traffic on all the streets leading to the Clesen property.

City staff say police met with the nursery’s CEO, Tom Clesen, at the company’s office at 316 Florence Ave. in June 2022 and say that since then complaints from neighbors have subsided.

When Reid’s proposal first came to City Council last November, Reid moved to table it until this week’s meeting.

City staff say that the truck ban wouldn’t be effective — because under the city code trucks can travel on streets where trucks are prohibited if that’s the only way to get to their destination.

In addition, the city’s Law Department has produced a memo suggesting that if the city did ban truck traffic to the business, it could be subject to a lawsuit for what’s know as “inverse condemnation” — effectively destroying the value of an owner’s property without paying compensation for it.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Another example of Reid hating an old established business in Evanston. His vision has not worked in Russia, Cuba or other authoritarian regimes.

  2. Who cares what the City Law Department says when the highly educated Mr Reid says we should do this. More wasted time and resources.

    1. The next regular election for Evanston city council is 2025. Evanston has no statute allowing any recall prior to normal elections so Reid can continue his ways until 2025 at the earliest.
      Corresponding with Ald. Nieusma, he feels that normal election times are fine and serve as “recall elections”. Recall statutes on a local level are rare in Illinois with Buffalo Grove leading the way having passed a recall statute, withstood legal challenges and recalling a council person in 2010.
      If you disagree with Ald. Nieusma I strongly encourage you to contact your council person and push for Evanston to lead the way and institute a recall statute.

  3. where is the data ? this was a failed idea in an 8th ward meeting months ago. why is this ban on the docket again?

    manon kavesky

  4. Reid’s proposal is a lawsuit waiting to happen. But, heck, Mr. Reid won’t be happy until all businesses in Evanston are either closed or collectivized.

  5. Perhaps a more thoughtful and creative solution was required for this issue? Just banning the trucks while offering no options to the business owner seems simplistic and punitive.

  6. 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 Devon Reid and certain residents of the Evanston 8th ward.

    The Evanston 311 Center is really the best way to get things started since every incident is reported and tracked. 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.

  7. This is what I sent to the city council tonight:

    City Council,
    This is regarding the agenda item: A22. Ordinance 108-O-22, Amending City Code Section 10-11-13 -Schedule XI which was tabled by Alderperson Reid at the November 28th, 2022 meeting. Although not recorded in the November 28th meeting minutes, according to my notes of the meeting, Alderperson Reid agreed that additional attempts would be made to work with Clesen to resolve the issues with trucks idling, before taking the step to prohibit truck traffic on the streets surrounding Clesen.

    Documentation of any follow-up actions with Clesen and any additional truck idling or other complaints should be provided in the packet so an informed decision can be made. The information currently provided in the packet actually supports the view that taking any action is unnecessary because the complaints subsided.

    Excluding truck traffic to a legacy Evanston business is a drastic step, and makes Evanston an unfriendly business environment. If there is sufficient cause to take this step, then it should be documented for the public to review.

    Also according to the information in the packet, Evanston faces the potential of Fifth Amendment liability exposure by this action.

    In addition, during an eighth ward meeting, Alderperson Reid expressed his desire to see a more appropriate business in Clesen’s place. He also mentioned that the million dollars in property taxes Clesen pays is not very much money. I don’t claim that he is actually motivated to take punitive action against Clesen to replace them with a business he prefers. However, I can imagine that a business looking to stay or come to Evanston may interpret his statements that way and therefore it is especially important that there is detailed documentation regarding this issue.

    I am not affiliated with Clesen in any way.

  8. This is not the Evanston I grew up in. We did not petition the City to ban the trucks that called on the book bindery at Barton and South Boulevard or whine about having it closed. We did not complain about the Glenora Farms milkman that delivered milk before dawn, or the junk man that cruised the alleys with his horse drawn cart buying rags and other discarded stuff. We were thrilled to have businesses in the community that provided services and goods to members of the community and local jobs to support the residents of this community. We loved having Bernstein’s and the Red Owl Grocery on Asbury, the Milk Store, the many “corner stores” and Krinn’s Drugs on Custer. I am certain some Alderperson would find a complaint from some newbie resident with some reason to object to something about everything. Clesen’s has been in the neighborhood longer than most of the houses and for my money deserve to stay as long as they choose. Unless the land is needed for some new something like the Leider Greenhouses on Oakton Street that were “taken” so that Chute School could be built.

  9. Wouldn’t just putting some rules in place about idling trucks and what times they can be loading and unloading solve the issue and make WAY more sense?

  10. Reid has fine intentions — and his obvious intellect speaks to that. But, just like wearing a sweatshirt to official meetings, he seems to not understand how he comes across.

  11. I don’t know yet how I feel about instituting recall elections, but I encourage the people of the 8th ward to begin talking to one another as often as they can about finding individuals to challenge Reid in 2025.

  12. I live in the 6th Ward but own property across from Clesen’s. Idling trucks are a problem. I’m sure my North Evanston neighbors would complain and something would get done. Wondering how many people complaining about Ald Reid actually live or own property in the area or if they just don’t like him but live in different wards?

    1. Clesen’s has been in business since 1941. I presume you didn’t own you home before that, and knew they were across from you when you purchased your home. Complaining now is like buying a home next to the El, and then complaining that the trains are loud. There are established hours that outdoor noise such as construction, lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc. is allowed. As long as the trucks are within these hours, you’re out of luck. If it’s outside these hours, call the police.

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