Rules restricting hair and nail salons on Howard Street in Evanstonwere tabled Monday at the request of their sponsor, Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward.

The City Council had been scheduled to take a final vote on two ordinances that would have required anyone seeking to open a personal care service business on Howard east of Ridge Avenue to get a special use permit from the City Council.

Such permits give the aldermen essentially unlimited discretion in deciding whether to approve a new business and create a minimum of a three month delay before a business can open.

City staff, at Rainey’s behest, had argued that the restrictions were needed because a “cluster” of hair salons in that neighborhood “may deter private sector investment.”

But the memo provided no evidence to support that claim, and other streets in town, notably Davis Street downtown, have similar “clusters” of hair and nail salons that would not have been affected by the new rules.

The Plan Commission recommended 5-2 against adopting the restrictions.

In moving to table the ordinances until the next regular City Council meeting on April 22, Rainey said there were “unfortunate rumors” circulating about the proposal and that she guessed she hadn’t “done of good job of explaining it.”

Related story

Hair: Bad on Howard, Good on Davis?

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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