Update on Northwestern subdivision proposal

At the March 4th meeting of the Evanston Historic Preservation Commission, Northwestern presented a revised proposal for the subdivision of its East Campus.  The revised proposal somewhat enlarged the lots that surround landmarked buildings.  These lots would remain under the purview of the Commission.  In addition, it proposed to “share future designs” for buildings in Lot 1 along Sheridan Road.  Lot 1 covers the remainder of the East Campus, excluding the lots containing landmarked buildings. 

City Staff had submitted a memo recommending acceptance of this proposal with two conditions:  (1) that one of the lots (Lot 4) be enlarged, and (2) that the area for sharing design information in Lot 1 be a 200’ strip along Sheridan Road.  The staff memo said that, in this strip, the Commission could provide “feedback” to Northwestern about proposed designs.

The revised proposal and the city staff's response are available on the city's website. 

However, at the start of the meeting, staff requested a postponement of the Commission’s vote on the proposal until the Commission’s next meeting so that staff could conduct further discussions with Northwestern and provide an updated recommendation to the Commission.  The Commission and Northwestern agreed to the postponement.  The Commission’s vote is based on the compliance of the proposal to a set of standards articulated in Evanston City Code Title 2, Chapter 8, Section 12.  This vote is advisory to the City Council which makes the actual decision on whether to accept the proposal.  

During the discussion, Commissioners expressed concern about the relatively small size of the 200’ strip and whether the ability to provide “feedback” was meaningful.  Commissioners also suggested further revisions to some of the Lot outlines.

SEA was present at the meeting and made a brief statement regarding the revised proposal, acknowledging that it was an improvement, but that it needed further improvement.  We expressed concerns similar to those of the Commissioners.  We recommended that the City and Northwestern continue their negotiations with a view toward further improving the proposal.  This appeared also to be thinking of the Commission and City Staff.

Posted on March 5, 2015 .