After over a year of public debate, the Plan Commission approved rezoning a slice of land running through Evanston’s west side Wednesday.

The vote came despite heckling from a small group of neighborhood residents who claimed their voices had not been heard in the planning process, even though some of them have attended and spoken at hearings from the beginning.

The zoning proposals are designed to implement a master plan for the area adopted by the City Council in May 2007 after a previous round of public hearings.

They now go to the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee for further review before final adoption by the full City Council.

“This is embarrassing,” Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said, speaking to neighbors outside the meeting room after the vote. “There was no sell-out here. The community came up with this plan,” she said.

Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, told the neighbors that a flier distributed by opponents before the meeting saying the plan would zone residents out of Evanston was totally false.

The rezoning affects industrial and commercial land along the former Mayfair rail right of way that runs diagonally from Simpson Street and Green Bay Road to Greenwood Street just west of Dodge Avenue.

It would rezone most of that land to permit townhomes and apartment buildings while permitting some remaining commercial uses in the area to remain and to some extent expand their operations.

Related links

West Side Planning (City website)

West side plan coverage (Evanston Now)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. The West Side…it goes on and on and on and on…
    Is it possible that the organizers, who circulated a flyer claiming, “Did you know that YOU are being zoned out of Evanston? If YOU have received this flyer, than YOUR property has been targeted!” knew that the Plan Commission would not hear public comment last night?

    In fact, could their only purpose have been to make residents believe they are not being heard because in fact, the city did not listen to them last night?

    Any person, who got this flyer, regardless of their place in life, would have high concerns about being pushed out of their homes. Based on the people who showed up last night to get information or to be heard, it is apparent this flyer did its job in rallying some residents to come to the Plan Commission meeting.

    What is not clear is to what end the flyer organizers will go to fight the city’s implementation of The West Side Plan. I overheard one of the flyer organizers claiming he was going to “seek an injunction” – of what, exactly???

    As one of those whose home is “targeted”, I feel it necessary to say publicly that I do NOT feel threatened by the city’s implementation of the West Side Plan, but my family DOES feel threatened by uneducated and riotous behaviors such as those behind this inflammatory flyer. This IS NOT the way to accomplish anything productive with the city and it is unreasonable to put forth ideas that are misleading, untruthful and unsupported.

    If you got this flyer, or read it here on Evanston Now, perhaps, before you pass judgment about either side of the issues, you may wish to speak with Susan Guderley at city hall to get a comprehensive understanding of the West Side Plan and the “over-lay zoning”, which is also of high concern. Ms. Guderley is happy to discuss this topic, and can be reached at 847-866-2928 or via e-mail at

    Anna Renee Ross

    While everyone is entitled to their own set of truths, no one is right 100% of the time.

  2. it goes on and on ….

    Good to hear a rational voice. I had not seen the flyer that was distributed, but it seems that those who distributed it are interested in keeping old attitudes and fear the same. Things are changing, not only in Evanston, but the nation. People need to wake up and realise that progress can be very good, just look at our national election.

    How is that explained by those who feel there is a conspiracy to have them leave this community.

    Progress does not equal loss!!

    In any case there is never an excuse to use fear to frighten those who are less informed. I would expect better.

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