Downtown Residents Association (DRA)
Committed to Maintaining a Neighborhood Community in Downtown Evanston
We urge everyone to take action on the following issues. Join
DRA and contact your alderman.
DRA has taken positions on the following:
UPDATE - New Downtown Plan - New Zoning
A City web page has been introduced to support the zoning
implementation of the Downtown Plan Update (adopted by
Council in Feb 2009). Anticipated to run through Spring 2010, the effort will put the updated
Downtown Plan into action in the form of 8 new zoning districts and will encompass all of
A downtown zoning mailing list for people interested in the downtown zoning implementation
process has been created. You may subscribe to the mailing list at:
Messages sent to this distribution list will pertain to the downtown rezoning program, for
example: event/hearing notifications, agendas, notifications of documents for review, etc. The
list will not be used for any other purposes. If your property will be directly affected by the
future implementation of the approved downtown plan—PLEASE make sure to sign up for this
very valuable information resource. The Downtown Zoning Implementation web page,
referenced above, has resources to determine if your property is within the proposed areas.
The Downtown Plan Committee of the Plan Commission lead a downtown planning process.
Residents, businesses, institutions, and other property owners participated throughout the
process and provided their ideas for the future of downtown Evanston. In October 2007, a
draft downtown plan was prepared by Duncan Associates and their partners, The Lakota Group,
180 Degrees Design Studio, Goodman Williams Group, and KLOA.
Citizens provided comments on the draft plan at several Plan Commission meetings. The
DRA presented its position and recommended changes to the initial draft plan at the
December 17, 2007 Plan Commission meeting.
A revised draft plan dated November 10, 2008 was approved by the Plan Commission and
sent to the Planning & Development (P&D) Committee for review and approval. At a P&D
meeting on December 4, 2008, the DRA presented its position on the revised Plan
The draft plan was further revised by P&D and approved (6-3) by both P&D and the City
Council at their February 9, 2009 meetings. Changes were made to create a Central Core
district and allow greater building heights in selected zones contrary to overwhelming public
comment made against these changes. Aldermen voting for passage of the revised plan
included Wollin (1st Ward), Jean-Baptiste (2nd Ward), Holmes (5th Ward), Moran (6th Ward),
Rainey (8th Ward), and Hansen (9th Ward). Voting against were Wynne (3rd Ward), Bernstein
(4th Ward), and Tisdahl (7th Ward).
A copy of the revised plans can be found here.
- 708 Church Street - Ordinance 32-O-08 - Plan Commission Recommendation
for a Map Amendment and Planned Development
The Plan Commission has recommended the rezoning of the property at 708 Church Street
from the D2 Downtown Retail Core zoning district to the D3 Downtown Core Development
zoning district, and to grant Planned Development status for the development on that site of
a 49-story residential and retail tower, also known as the “Fountain Square Development.”
The 708 Church project was approved by the Plan Commission (4-3) in December 2007 and
was then sent to the Planning and Development (P&D) Committee for review. Citizen
comments were heard at the P&D meeting on March 17, 2008.
At the April 8th P&D Committee meeting, a revised proposal was presented by the developers
for a shorter 38-story structure. Citizen comments were again heard at the P&D meeting on
May 7th. At that meeting, P&D Committee members voted (5-4) to table the current
proposal until adoption of the Downtown Plan by the City Council. This occurred on February
The DRA presented its position on the original proposed project at the March 17, 2008 P&D
Committee meeting. Its position on the revised proposal was presented at the May 7, 2008
P&D Committee meeting.
At a P&D Special Meeting on March 3, 2009, P&D voted (6-3) to approve a revised 708
Klutznick-Fisher Development for 708 Church, now titled Fountain Square Development. The
plan for this development is available here.
At the City Council Meeting on March 9, 2009, the latest Fountain Square Development was
introduced on the agenda. In addition, a requested amendment from the developer which
would grant an extension until 12/31/2013 to secure a building permit was presented.
The proposal with amendments was approved (6-3) at the City Council meeting held on March
23, 2009. All ordinance and associated 708 Church documents can be found at the Evanston
Coalition for Responsible Development (ECRD) website here.
- Special Service Area #4 (SSA #4)
Residential homeowners were mistakenly taxed on their 2007 2nd Installment Property Tax
Bills (which were due in November 2008) for SSA #4. Attempts were made by DRA with the
City to get this error corrected. DRA spoke on this topic at the February 9, 2009 City Council
meeting. Shortly thereafter, a City of Evanston press release was issued as a status update.
It can be read here.
UPDATE...As of June 2009, refund checks have begun to be mailed to eligible homeowners by
the City of Evanston. If you are eligible and do not receive a check in June, please contact
the City of Evanston's Finance Department at 847-866-2934.
See the DRA history page for more information on SSA #4.
DRA has not taken a position on the following initiatives. If you are
interested in monitoring or participating in any of these on behalf of the
DRA, please contact us.
- Evanston Lakefront Master Plan
Public workshops were held in Fall 2007 to obtain ideas and
comments from residents on design alternatives for the
Evanston lakefront. In January 2008, the plan was approved (9-0) by the City Council as
Resolution #7-R-08. The implementation plan consists of four projects:
- Lighthouse Landing ADA Improvement Project
- Multi-Use Trail Improvements
- Clark Street Beach House and Entry Drive Reconstruction Project
- Dempster Street Beach Non-Motorized Boat Storage Reconstruction Project
The Parks/Forestry and Recreation Department is now implementing the Master Plan. Further
information on schedules is available here.
The Evanston Climate Action Plan (ECAP) is a proposal outlining recommendations for
measures and policies designed to reduce Evanston’s greenhouse gas emissions. The draft
ECAP was presented to the public on May 4, 2008 and made available for community review
and comment until June 1st. The final ECAP was unanimously accepted by the City Council
when presented at their November 10, 2008 meeting.
- Multi-Modal Transportation Plan