Council could approve alcohol-related fee increases

Chris Kirkham

Evanston City Council could vote to more than double the minimum fines for possession of fake IDs and public intoxication at tonight’s meeting, but one alderman said he wasn’t sure about the extent of the increase.

The proposed hikes, would raise the minimum fines for fake licenses from $35 to $200. Minimum fines for public intoxication could also be increased to $200, up from the current $75.

But Ald. Gene Feldman (9th), one of the aldermen who recommended the proposal to City Council, said the proposed fine increases are not set in stone.

“I think there will be increases,” Feldman said. “There may be modifications to the amounts. Some people might think it’s too much of a fine.”

However, Feldman said he would support the current proposal to raise the fines to $200.

Ald. Edmund Moran (6th) said he still needed to review information about the numbers of alcohol- and fake ID-related fines levied in the past year before making a decision on the matter.

The council also will consider granting Vineyard Christian Fellowship the right to hold religious services at a property in southwest Evanston. The church entered into an agreement in February to purchase the property at 2401 Brummel Place, but aldermen on Evanston’s Planning and Development Committee in March said the church first had to resolve several traffic and landscaping issues.

The city’s Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee settled the landscaping problems at a meeting last Wednesday, saying the church must plant 112 shrubs along the east side of the parking lot and also create six “islands” of trees throughout the parking lot.

Also on the council’s agenda is a proposed endorsement of a statewide smoking ban for indoor public places. Aldermen on the city’s Human Services Committee earlier this month said they would propose a statewide ban after the committee excluded restaurants and bars from an Evanston smoking ban.

They said a statewide ban would put all restaurants and bars on a level playing field.

Prior to the full council meeting, aldermen on the Planning and Development Committee will discuss a proposal to restrict building heights in the area near Main Street and Chicago Avenue. The current zoning allows building heights up to 125 feet, but under the proposal, heights would be capped at 67 feet.

The suggestion comes after residents in the neighborhood near Main and Chicago complained that traffic and congestion problems were encroaching on their streets. The council enacted a building ban at the Main and Chicago intersection in October to temporarily address the congestion problems.

The Administration and Public Works and Planning and Development Committees will meet at 7 p.m., and the full council will convene at 8:30 p.m. All meetings are held at the Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.