Affordable housing vote delayed

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Evanston’s Land Use Commission postponed action Wednesday night on a 44-unit affordable housing project after a neighboring property owner asked for a continuance.

The delay also puts on hold plans for a new Mt. Pisgah Church building adjacent to the housing development in the 1800 block of Church Street.

A rendering of the proposed three-story Mt. Pisgah Church.

The continuance request came from owners of the Jackson LLP law firm, which acquired the historic building at 1817 Church St. from the Evanston North Shore Contractors Cooperative in December 2020.

Erin Jackson, managing partner of the firm, said they’ve experienced significant water infiltration issues at the property which forced them to replace all the hardwood floors on the building’s first floor.

Erin Jackson.

She said that while she very much supports the idea of affordable housing in the area she was concerned about the potential for additional water runoff from what’s now mostly vacant land on the block.

Other speakers at the meeting were divided in their views of the merits of the project.

Carlis Sutton.

Carlis Sutton, a landlord who owns properties in the neighborhood, said he was “adamantly opposed” to the development which he said would “completely destroy the character of our community.”

Vanessa Johnson-McCoy

But Vanessa Johnson-McCoy, a real estate agent in Evanston, said affordable housing is very much needed in the city and that while she had opposed a development at Dempster Street and Pitner Avenue several years ago, all the concerns about parking and water drainage raised then had turned out to not be an issue.

The Land Use Commission will resume its hearing on the two projects at its Feb. 8 meeting.

The commission will then make a recommendation to the City Council, which will make the final decision on whether to approve the projects.

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January 12, 2023 at 01:52PM

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