A property owner has sued the city over its refusal to grant zoning changes he sought to build a six-story residential building at 1031 Sherman Ave.

The Cook County Circuite Court suit by Michal Dalton of Skokie claims he was told by a staff member in the city’s zoning division before he spent $1.2 million to buy the land that the property had the C1a zoning required to permit the project he sought.

But in fact the land is split between two zones, R3 and MUE, neither of which allow the density he planned.

The city, in its answer to Dalton’s complaint, says it doesn’t know what the employee may have said, but that in any case comments by a city employee aren’t sufficient to change a property’s zoning and that Dalton had an obligation to determine the zoning for himself.

The Evanston’s zoning map, available online, uses similar colors for the C1a and  MUE zones which adjoin each other near the site. But it labels each separately and marks their boundaries with bold black lines.

Dalton’s project received negative reviews from the Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee last year.

The Plan Commission recommended denial after several neighbors spoke out against the project, and the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee unanimously voted against it this summer.

The full City Council is scheduled to vote on it tonight.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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