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Zoning panel OKs west side changes

The Zoning Committee of Evanston’s Plan Commission voted Wednesday night to approve a package of zoning changes designed to implement the West Side Plan adopted by the City Council last year.

The Zoning Committee of Evanston’s Plan Commission voted Wednesday night to approve a package of zoning changes designed to implement the West Side Plan adopted by the City Council last year.

The vote came despite continuing complaints from a handful of neighborhood residents, who offered conflicting objections to the proposal.

Betty Sue Ester of 2114 Darrow Ave. argued that the plan should permit more housing density to encourage development of affordable housing.

But other residents argued that the townhouse and apartment building designs that would be allowed under the proposed zoning are too dense and would change the largely single-family character of the surrounding area for the worse.

Meanwhile, Roberta Hudson, of 1941 Dewey Ave., argued against rezoning the largely abandoned industrial properties for residential use, claiming that what the neighborhood needs is more job opportunities, not more housing.

And landlord Tina Paden complained that any new development would lead to higher property taxes on existing buildings. She and some other speakers suggested that would lead to displacement of homeowners unable to pay the higher tax bills and of tenants faced with higher rents.

Members of the Zoning Committee said they were constrained from making any radical changes to the zoning proposals by the master plan adopted last year, which sets fairly specific goals for redeveloping the former Mayfair rail corridor.

The zoning changes will next be heard by the full Plan Commission at a meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the City Council Chambers of the Civic Center.

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