Getting your Evanston news from Facebook? Try the Evanston RoundTable’s free daily and weekend email newsletters – sign up now!
Subscribe to the newsletter!
Under the green building ordinance adopted by City Council on Oct. 26, all new buildings over 10,000 square feet in the City of Evanston must be certified as green buildings by the US Green Building Council through their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. The ordinance, three years in the making, does not currently apply to rehabbed buildings or adaptive re-use.
The ordinance traveled a winding and sometimes rocky course on its way to passage, but ultimately passed by an 8-1 vote with 8th Ward Alderman Ann Rainey casting the lone dissenting vote. Just two weeks ago, when the ordinance was held by Council while a new compromise committee was selected, it appeared as though the ordinance would disappear into that committee for at least six weeks. In the two weeks since that meeting, however, a compromise brokered by Alderman Donald Wilson, 4th Ward, apparently gained traction.
Ald. Wilson opened the discussion by saying, “I think it’s very important that we actually take a step forward and get an ordinance” passed tonight. He called the ordinance “close” but “not exactly where we need to be” on the renovation/re-use side. He proposed an amendment removing the section that addressed rehabilitation entirely.
Ald. Rainey objected, moving that the ordinance be tabled to give the newly appointed compromise committee the opportunity to address the entire ordinance. “It should not be fragmented; it should not be piecemeal,” she said. Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste, 2nd Ward, agreed.
“I am in full agreement with [Ald. Wilson] regarding the modifications you propose, but it does not make sense right now,” said Ald. Jean-Baptiste. He pointed to the new compromise committee, and the input of small builders into the process that both he and Ald. Rainey have cited several times as lacking from the start.
Momentum toward passage was too strong. Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, and Alderman Melissa Wynn, 3rd Ward, all spoke in favor if passing the ordinance as amended. The motion to table failed by a 6-3 vote, with Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, joining Ald. Rainey and Ald. Jean-Baptiste. After tabling failed, Ald. Rainey was left alone in opposition. Ald. Wilson’s amendments passed 8-1, and the ordinance soon followed by the same 8-1 vote.