Evanston community discusses possibility of yard waste recycling center

Assistant City Attorney Kenneth Cox and Ald. Colleen Burrus (9th) explain the next steps of a new ordinance that, if passed, will permit the opening of Evanston's first yard waste recycling transfer facility. Alds. Burrus and Ann Rainey (8th) hosted a community meeting Thursday night to talk with residents about the facility.

Ciara McCarthy/Daily Senior Staffer

Assistant City Attorney Kenneth Cox and Ald. Colleen Burrus (9th) explain the next steps of a new ordinance that, if passed, will permit the opening of Evanston's first yard waste recycling transfer facility. Alds. Burrus and Ann Rainey (8th) hosted a community meeting Thursday night to talk with residents about the facility.

Ciara McCarthy, Assistant City Editor

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City officials have embarked on a multi-step process that could result in Evanston’s first yard waste recycling transfer facility.

About 30 people gathered Thursday night at the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., to discuss the plan, which has attracted concern from many residents because of a previous composting facility in southwest Evanston that made the area uncomfortable to live in. The proposed yard waste station would be located at an empty lot at 2532 Oakton St.

Alds. Ann Rainey (8th) and Coleen Burrus (9th) explained the upcoming steps required for the facility to become a reality. First, the city’s zoning ordinance must be amended to allow for a special use application for a landscape recycling transfer station. The amended ordinance was introduced for discussion in the Planning and Development Committee on April 22. If approved by the Planning and Development Committee, the council could vote on it as early as May 28, assistant city attorney Kenneth Cox said. If the amendment is approved, the application itself must be submitted and approved.

The facility would allow local landscapers to dispose of yard waste. Within 24 hours, the waste would be removed and taken to composting locations outside of Evanston.

Some residents were concerned about the potential for increased traffic from landscaping trucks and odors from the facility. Residents from the neighborhood were especially concerned about the potential for smell because of a malodorous composting facility that was in the area. The city and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency were initially unresponsive to residents’ concerns, though the facility was eventually closed down, resident Yvonne Dickerson said. Dickerson expressed to the presenters both her admiration and her hesitancy for the new facility.

“Please understand we had a horrible experience that was just indescribable,” she said. “So we’re overcautious but that’s not because we aren’t open-minded to what it is you’re trying to accomplish.”

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