Proposed rendering of 938Custer Ave., the former site of Dard Manufacturing. From materials submitted by developer Kevin Lee to City of Evanston

The City’s Plan Commission on Feb. 13 advanced a proposal for a large-scale townhome development along Custer Avenue and began discussions about a proposed Oakton Street car wash.

Developer Kevin Lee of Evanston Custer also asked the Commission for a recommendation to rezone his property at 910-938 Custer Ave. to MXE, Mixed Use Employment District, and to grant a special use for a Planned Development in the MXE Mixed Use Employment District.

The development in question would consist of 40 single-family attached townhomes in five standalone buildings. Allowances are needed since the developer would like 40 units and current zoning only permits 32, among other requirements. The structures also would require some four stories where only three are permitted, and the developer is asking for smaller setbacks than required. Additionally, units would be oriented to the interior and side yards rather than the street.

The Commission unanimously advanced the proposal to City Council on the conditions that developers continue to work with City staff on façade improvement along Custer Avenue and that two parking spaces along Custer Avenue be removed.

Commissioners spoke to requested allowances for the building’s height and number of stories and acknowledged that the project differed stylistically from other structures in its proximity. Commissioner George Halik said he appreciated a wide variety of structures as much as stylistic uniformity between them.

Commissioner Terri Dubin added, “I think there’s a need for it. It doesn’t look like our old brick buildings, but it’s what makes Evanston Evanston – though I acknowledge it’s tough to see this kind of change.”

Commissioner Jennifer Draper applauded that the project is planned as a “net-zero” energy development and that it would include courtyards.

She did, however, caution the developers to be conscientious of the view along Custer.

The Commission postponed continuing discussion of a car wash facility at 2425 Oakton St. until its March 13 meeting. The business, located on the western edge of the City, would include 20 vacuum spaces and four parking spaces as it is currently proposed. The applicant is seeking an allowance for an accessory structure three feet away from the principal structure, where a distance of 10 feet is normally required. Attorney Mark Daniel mainly spoke for the petitioners at the Feb. 13 meeting.

The audience members, since their business was within 1,000 feet of the proposed project, had the right to ask for a continuance, which they did, indicating that they would bring in additional evidence to the March 13 meeting that the car wash was detrimental to the established businesses in its proximity.