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Evanston Zoning Discussion

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258
Ryan Kettelkamp
11-16-2007
03:17 PM CT (US)
Chris...I appreciate your comments and agree that the public benefits are severely lacking, but I don't believe that at the present time you have any way of knowing that the majority of Evanstonians are against this. In this town, and elsewhere, we only tend to hear from people who are opposed since the people who are for are either at their kid's Cub Scout meeting or watching Dancing with the Stars.

I for one am for this project. Maybe 49 stories is not the magic number, but it doesn't take a design expert to realize that something of importance needs to be done on this site. Just look at it in this view from the north....the back of the International Style building that stands over Fountain Square is an old billboard.

I would venture to hazard that the developer is asking for more because they know they'll be told to make it less. Ask for 49 build 39...ask for 39 build 29. The building that goes on this site needs to be the tallest, and most elegant in downtown.

If it is going to be taller than what is allowed "by right"...then I want to see something more than "a meaningful contribution" to the reconstruction of Fountain Square and I want it appropriately defined.

One thing is for certain though...the "meaningful contribution" will be less if it is a 29 storey building versus a 39 storey versus a 49 storey one.
257
Ryan Kettelkamp
11-16-2007
02:55 PM CT (US)
Fountain Square Area from the North
256
Chris ErnstPerson was signed in when posted
11-15-2007
10:29 AM CT (US)
Some additional thoughts on the proposed 708 Church development.
255
Chris ErnstPerson was signed in when posted
11-14-2007
02:41 PM CT (US)
re: /m254
The top line of each page is blacked out because the document was sent from a private fax line. It has nothing to do with the minutes.
254
Peter Sanchez
11-14-2007
02:26 PM CT (US)
Why does the city use "confidential" classification as if it were the Department of Defense? Why are the top lines blacked out? I read the minute and there doesn't seem to be a smoking gun except that the members of the council are sending very positive signals to developers for a building that will be much, much higher than existing zoning allows for.
253
Chris ErnstPerson was signed in when posted
11-14-2007
12:44 PM CT (US)
The minutes from the Closed Session meeting of the Evanston City Council on March 27, 2007 have been released. You may download a copy of the minutes here. The minutes were released to the public at the request of the Attorney General of Illinois due to a violation of the Open Meetings Act.
252
vito
11-01-2007
08:48 PM CT (US)
If you had the elite DNA, you would not understand.
251
Ann RaineyPerson was signed in when posted
11-01-2007
03:26 PM CT (US)
Vito - I am just a stoopid alderman - I have no idea what you are talking about. If you are talking about this meeting - I complained that a private meeting was being talked about and was assured that it absolutely would not be allowed. It is a meeting opened to the public .

If that isn't your reference - forget about it, I don't need to know.
250
vito
11-01-2007
02:35 PM CT (US)
Chris,

You must understand that we as human beings are differentiated by our DNA.

First on the evolutionary scale are Council members, city staff and developers. Their elite DNA gives them extraordinary powers, such as omniscience, an ability to know what is best in all matters, especially economics and finance.

Then there are the mere citizens, dutifully paying taxes and who should know their place, especially to challenge the wisdom of those above. Their role is to pay taxes, even if they always increase, and to never question the wisdom of those with elite DNA. To question is to deny the very principal of the Peoples Republic of Evanston.

That is heresy.
249
Ann RaineyPerson was signed in when posted
11-01-2007
12:12 PM CT (US)
I have just had a conversation with our staff - as I said no private meeting will take place. Design Evanston regularly meets at city hall. Anyone can meet there if we have a room available that meets your schedule.

The Design Evanston meeting, of course, will be open to the public/press. The meeting is specifically for design members so it will be up to them as to the public participation.

The public is welcome - I think it would be an interesting meeting to attend.
248
Ann RaineyPerson was signed in when posted
11-01-2007
09:31 AM CT (US)
I don't know anything about this but unless you are the civil service commission or a board having and excutive session validated under the open meetings act - I don't think you will be having private meetings at city hall.

AND we better not be paying for the consultant to be there!
247
Chris ErnstPerson was signed in when posted
11-01-2007
08:54 AM CT (US)
A conflict of interest? Your tax dollars at work?

With the help of Mr. Marino, Mr. Galloway of the Plan Commission has set up a private meeting where one of the "city paid" consultants will brief members of Design Evanston on the Draft Downtown Plan. The private session is to be held at the Civic Center tonight at 7pm. When addressing members of Design Evanston, Mr. Galloway said:

"The Plan Commission will be entertaining public input/comments at a November 6th meeting," Galloway noted. "There may likely be another meeting after that for the same purpose. It would be very beneficial if you as individuals chose to speak/comment."

What is wrong with this picture??? Let me count the ways...

1. Design Evanston is a private organization that is getting special treatment by representatives of the City. Gee, I wonder what type of "comments" will come out of this meeting.

2. As a Plan Commissioner, Mr. Galloway is creating a potential for a conflict of interest. There is little doubt that as President of Design Evanston, he was aware of the private meeting between the developers of 708 Church and a "core" group of Design Evanston members who came out in favor of the development(you can read letter from DE in the August transcript of the Plan Commission hearings). Now, with the help of City Staff, he is holding a private briefing on the Downtown Plan for his group? Why does this group merit a private meeting with the consulting team? Who is paying for the consultant's time? Will any City staff be at the meeting?

3. Why did a member of City Staff assist in making the event happen? Can anybody have a private meeting with the consultants?

4. Interesting timing.... just five days before the only scheduled public comment session. The FIRST time that average citizens will have a chance to ask questions and make comments about the plan. Yet it is appropriate for Design Evanston to circumvent the public process with a private briefing?

I'm sure the meeting will probably take place, and I'm relatively certain that members will be "guided" into the individual comments they make. If City Government wonders why there is little trust in the process, this is very good example of how that mistrust evolves.

Here is an article from the Evanston Review focusing on the meeting.
Edited 11-01-2007 02:19 PM
246
Barb Rakley
10-29-2007
08:45 PM CT (US)
Ryan, If you want a hard copy of the downtown plan, please post an email address or phone number, and I will see that you are able to obtain one (although you will have to pay for it, about $33.00).
245
Ann RaineyPerson was signed in when posted
10-29-2007
07:32 PM CT (US)
The city manager has advised that the Plan Commission meeting will be held in the council chambers and televised.
244
Ryan Kettelkamp
10-29-2007
04:19 PM CT (US)
Chris...thanks for posting the link to the City Website. I found it informative and well done. The ideas will need to sink in. One thing that stands out in my mind as an issue for me is affordable housing being listed near the top of the list when there are so many other public benefits that are benefits to all that could be asked for.

Don't know if if was clearer on your computer but text was virtually unreadable for me...anyone else?
243
Chris ErnstPerson was signed in when posted
10-27-2007
09:51 PM CT (US)
My comments on the process for citizen comment on the Draft Downtown Plan.
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