Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Council passes stricter building height limitations

Evanston City Council voted Monday to rezone the properties surrounding the Main Street and Chicago Avenue intersection to limit the height of buildings.

The new zoning caps the height of buildings at 67 feet, as opposed to the previous maximum height of 125 feet.

Neighborhood residents had expressed concerns that the previous height limitation was excessive and that growing development in the area led to problems such as traffic congestion.

“Large buildings are being put on small sidewalks,” said Evanston resident Debbie Hillman, who lives near the intersection.

Ald. Arthur Newman (1st) said the zoning change was appropriate for the area.

“(The new zoning) fits in better with what’s in the neighborhood,” he said. “If you get seven stories on a building … that’s an unreasonable amount of growth.”

City Council also approved several ordinances to allow redevelopment at the former Evanston/Skokie School District 65 headquarters at 1314 Ridge Ave.

Mike Niazmand, a managing member of the developing firm Asbury Ridge, LLC, said the company planned to convert the historic Dryden Mansion into four condominiums. The firm will convert the coach house into a duplex and will develop the surrounding property into seven single-family homes.

Niazmand said the company hopes to begin construction by the end of the year and to finish the project within three years. The company purchased the property in July 2002.

The ordinances were approved despite objections from neighborhood residents, one of whom complained that the ordinances were unclear.

“I don’t know what they approved,” said Evanston resident Liza Shuldiner, who lives in the neighborhood. “I hope they know.”

The council also voted to place decorative mast arms — traffic signals suspended over the road — at several intersections in the Northeast Evanston Historic District.

Mast arms will be placed on traffic lights at the intersection of Ridge Avenue, Sheridan Road and Isabella Street, in conjunction with a Wilmette project that will use state funds to repave Isabella Street and portions of Sheridan Road.

Improvements at the intersection of Central Street and Ridge Avenue will be paid for by Evanston Hospital. A proposal for mast arms at the intersection of Main Street and Sheridan Road was held for future discussion because the city would not receive state reimbursement.

The council approved the initiative amid complaints by some residents and aldermen that the mast arms would be unattractive and would not improve overall safety.

“I don’t know if I have been shown with certainty that mast arms enhance the safety of a particular street,” said Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th). “Do we really need them? To me, it’s a question of aesthetics.”

But proponents of the move said that placing mast arms on the traffic lights would improve safety and is a small price to pay for a virtually free repaving of Isabella Street.

“We’re talking about millions of dollars to spend on roadways and signage which is essential to the safe conveyance of traffic through the city,” said Ald. Edmund Moran (6th). “When there is a lot at stake, monetarily and public safety-wise, to stop these projects that need to be done is a mistake in my opinion.”

Several residents also spoke out in favor of further discussion of a possible marina in southeast Evanston directly across from Calvary Cemetery, 310 Chicago Ave.

“(People) are out there waiting for this marina,” said Evanston resident Dave Rodelius, who used to manage the Evanston boat ramp. “This is our third try for a marina in Evanston. I hope we can get it done.”

The council voted at its April 26 meeting to allow further public discussion of a marina. At that meeting, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented the findings of its preliminary study on the feasibility of a marina. The study found that boat owners supported a marina, but that many Evanston residents opposed the idea.

The marina issue will be discussed at a Third Ward town hall meeting, Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) announced. The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lincoln Elementary School, 910 Forest Ave.

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Council passes stricter building height limitations