Evanston’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Tuesday night to recommend City Council approval of plans for a 30-unit apartment development on the former Sojourner Church property at 1101 Church St.

Developer Chris Dillion of Campbell Coyle Real Estate said the project will convert the church building into seven townhouse-style apartments, including a mix of two- and three-bedroom units and add 23 one- and two bedroom new-construction apartments on land now occupied by the church parsonage and a surface parking lot.

Chris Dillion.

The plans require a variety of setback, density and parking variations, but at four stories tall is considerably shorter than the 85-foot height limit for the property’s R6 zoning district.

Kristin Cleland, who owns a townhouse at 1107 Church St. that adjoins the site of the planned new apartments, objected to the setback variations, in an interview with Evanston Now, saying they would put the new structure too close to her property. She didn’t testify at the hearing, but sent an email to the board outlining her objections.

Kiril Mirintchev.

But ZBA Member Kiril Mirintchev, an architect, said the architects on the project “did a great job” coming up with a design for the “really difficult project” on an unusual L-shaped lot.

Board Chair Violetta Cullen said her favorite thing about the proposal is that the site would go from being an untaxed church property to providing an estimated $135,000 in annual property tax payments to the city, local schools and other local government units.

Member Jill Zordan said the project had “a very attractive, interesting design that complements the Evanston cityscape.”

Member Muffy McAuley said, “It’s fabulous” that the design maintains the church. “I really love church adaptive reuse developments,” she said, adding that the new building “is really wonderful” and “totally in scale with its location.”

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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