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ZBA backs museum expansion plan

But neighbors complain about parking and noise.

Cameel Halim says his museum is running out of space.

Evanston’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted 4-1 Tuesday night to recommend City Council approval of plans to expand the Halim Time and Glass Museum into a section of the former King Home.

Owner Cameel Halim said he’s run out of space in the museum building at 1560 Oak Ave. and wants to convert a 2,000 square foot portion of the former King Home property across the street at 1555 Oak Ave. into a museum annex that would house his collection of Egyptian antiquities and Russian art.

The existing four-story museum building focuses on antique time pieces and stained glass.

A drawing showing the new entrance at the south end of the former King Home building facing Oak Avenue.

Plans presented to the ZBA show the new exhibit space occupying the south end of the ground floor of the King Home, with a new entrance added from Oak. The only expansion of the footprint of the building would provide handicap accessible bathrooms in a bump-out at the southeast corner of the building.

Halim plans to reopen the former King Home as an assisted living facility called the Museum Residences on Oak.

Owners of homes around the corner from the museum on Grove Street objected to the expansion.

John Cleave.

John Cleave of 1109 Grove said the museum hosts hundreds of events and often has parties that run late at night “with very loud music” and that buses often block Oak. Expanding the museum, he said, would add to congestion in the area and diminish the value of the homes.

Diana Durkes of 1111 Grove said the area is gaining more density than ever before with an apartment building under construction on a former parking lot at Ridge Avenue and Grove. She complained that the museum is “a private museum, a place for one collector to showcase his collection” and said the expansion “will be altering the nature of the entire neighborhood.”

Board members voted to condition their approval on Halim working with city staff to address parking concerns raised by the residents before the proposal reaches the City Council for a final vote.

The ZBA Tuesday also approved zoning variations required for a 18,000 square foot addition to the C.E. Niehoff factory complex at 2021 Lee St. and recommended City Council approval of special uses sought by Huda Shahin of Montelimar Bread Company for a wholesale bakery at 1731 Howard St. and Destiny Rucker for a microblading and permanent cosmetics business at 1577 Maple Ave.

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