Council officials elect to rezone National-Louis University

Breanne Gilpatrick

The Evanston City Council voted 8 to 1 Monday night to rezone the Sheridan Road campus of National-Louis University in response to resident concern that higher-density housing would hurt the neighborhood’s charm.

National-Louis officials in May announced their plans to sell the property to move to a more accessible location.

The school has not yet sold its campus on the Evanston-Wilmette border, but the Evanston Plan Commission began discussing a zoning change for the Evanston portion of the university in July.

The council hopes to avoid the problems the city is having with the Kendall College property near Northwestern’s North Campus. Developers bought the Kendall property in November while it still was zoned for university use and have presented plans for higher-density housing, which has led to both resident and city concerns.

The National-Louis property was zoned for university use. The zoning change would cap any new construction at four single-family homes. It also would prevent National-Louis from making any external renovations to a dorm that now is on the property.

Ald. Joseph Kent (5th), the only alderman to vote against the zoning change, said the focus of the debate should shift toward the issue of affordable housing.

“This is a prime opportunity here for us to yes, satisfy neighbors, but on the same token do something for what I call average, middle-income families,” Kent said.

Rezoning this land is only being done to appease a small minority of the population, Kent said, adding that the council needs to address housing concerns for all of Evanston.

Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th) said the high market values in the area would keep developers from building affordable housing on that property.

“I can’t see any developer going in with what this cost is going to be and building something that is going to meet 80 percent of people’s incomes,” Bernstein said.

Reach Breanne Gilpatrick at [email protected]

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Council officials elect to rezone National-Louis University