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


Advertisement
Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Advertisement

Advertisement
‘You know absolutely nothing’: Students frustrated with NU’s handling of academic integrity cases
NU’s Summer Class Schedule offers flexibility, opportunities for academic advancement
Community awards, advocacy headline Evanston’s fifth annual Juneteenth parade
Race Against Hate: Ricky Byrdsong’s Legacy
The Week Ahead, June 17-23: Juneteenth, Summer Solstice and Pride Celebrations in Chicagoland
Evanston Environment Board drops fossil fuels divestment, recommends updates to leaf blower ordinance
Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins
Advertisement
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

June 13, 2024

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

May 30, 2024

Advertisement

The secret (and short) lives of cicadas on campus

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Aldermen delay tower decision pending plan

The Planning and Development Committee voted 5-4 Wednesday to delay its decision on a proposed 38-story tower at 708 Church St. until city staff has approved the Downtown Plan.

The committee, which consists of all nine aldermen, agreed that the property would probably be revamped eventually, but voted to postpone a final decision on the tower until it could ensure the proposal would be in line with the principles of the Downtown Plan. The Plan Commission is in the process of finishing the plan, which officials predicted would be completed in June. The 10-year plan will list several areas for potential development and recommend new zoning guidelines for Evanston’s downtown area.

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) voted to delay a tower decision, saying she hoped the vote would encourage the Plan Commission to speed up its work on the Downtown Plan.

“I think this is urgent,” she said.

Committee chairman Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) reserved 90 minutes of time for public comment before the discussion. Public comment was dominated by anti-tower sentiment, with Evanston residents objecting to the building’s height, cost, economic viability and effect on congestion on the city.

“(The developers) don’t know the people of Evanston, they don’t care,” resident Robert Heitzinger said. “Their proposal so completely exceeds zoning regulations, it would be laughable, except that some of you are very seriously considering it … Will the citizens control this or allow it to be set by developers?”

Part of the developers’ petition to the City Council involves making a special exemption to the Evanston law that restricts building height. In order for a building to exceed height regulations, its developers must prove the building would benefit the public. Many of those who commented said the tower’s developers, Focus Development and Klutznick-Fisher Development Corp., have not adequately proven the benefits of building the tower would justify the violation of the zoning ordinance.

Resident Jean Lindwall said making an exemption for the tower would amount to “spot zoning.”

“In my opinion, this is the wrong project for the side in terms of land-use and density,” she said.

Steve Friedland, the legal representative for Focus and Klutznick-Fisher, said the developers would satisfy the public benefit requirement through the taxes the tower would generate and the developers’ promise to revamp the Hahn Building just south of 708 Church St.

“We are offering quantifiable public benefits to the city,” Friedland said.

But Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) disagreed.

“Fundamentally, I don’t believe the public benefits here in any way balance out the request for exploding our zoning ordinance,” she said, adding that “this is an opportunity to ruin our downtown.”

Ald. Edmund Moran (6th) was the most vocal in his support of the tower, saying the money it would generate is essential to getting the city out of its estimated $140 million pension fund shortfall.

“If one were to focus simply on whether you liked this building or whether you don’t like this building, maybe you wouldn’t be thinking about the fact that we’d be taking a pass on (all the money),” he said.

Ald. Elizabeth Tisdahl (7th) said she would have no problem with voting against the tower and trying to find the money in other places.

“Condo owners are not the pot of gold that will solve our financial problems in Evanston,” she said. “Be aware that some of what Ald. Moran said is correct … it is true that there are economic benefits that I am willing to forgo by my vote.”

[email protected]

More to Discover
Activate Search
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Aldermen delay tower decision pending plan