The property at 1224 Washington St., home to Butcher Boy School of Music Production, is seen in 2007. (Cook County Assessor)

An Evanston music studio is one step closer to city approval for plans to subdivide its property and stay in business.

The Evanston Land Use Commission approved a recommendation 7-2 on Feb. 23 allowing Butcher Boy School of Music Production, 1224 Washington St., to split its lot.
The studio’s proprietor, Jim Tullio, had lost significant business during the COVID-19 pandemic, but reconfigured Butcher Boy as a not-for-profit that assists local students in producing musical recordings.

Tullio said that a spike in his mortgage payments has made staying in business untenable unless he can sell off the unused portion of Butcher Boy’s property. But his first proposal got pushback from the city’s Design and Project Review (DAPR) committee, which initially decided against a recommendation in January, noting that one of the newly created lots would be under the 5,000-square-foot requirement for new lots in the city.

The DAPR rejection was not binding, and members of the Land Use Commission, who subsequently reviewed the proposal, turned it back to Tullio for revisions. His new proposal was reassessed and backed by DAPR on Feb. 15.

Under Tullio’s reconfigured plan, each lot would be 4,613 square feet. While that introduced two substandard lots into the project, city officials concluded that two lots with minor variations were preferable to one that met size requirements and one that fell dramatically below standard.

“We do find a number of smaller lots that do not meet existing codes because we applied the code to existing properties,” said Chair Matt Rodgers.

Jim Tullio, left, works with student Alejandro Quiles at the Butcher Boy studio. (Image from Butcher Boy YouTube video.)

The commission also removed an earlier condition imposed on Tullio requiring that no curb-cut be added along Washington Street. While the city has strived to minimize curb-cuts, many commissioners said they felt that the restriction would limit the options of whomever bought the second lot in the future. Commissioners also added a provision that the subdivision be executed within 12 months.

With the commission’s approval, a draft plat of subdivision next goes before the Evanston City Council.

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  1. Mr. Jim Tullio’s Boy School of Music Production and Studio organization sounds lovely and meaningful for youth interested in music production is terrific. Although I am a community resident, I find this article confusing! If I understand correctly, the City council is being asked to allow the owner to divide his lot/yard in order to sell the smaller piece of land to help fund his work with students. His revenue was significantly affected by the covid pandemic. Can you tell me if this is a new program offered by the City of Evanston? Could you tell me more about the program if it exists? A few of my friends have dreamed of setting up a drop-in youth center in south Evanston. There hasn’t been one in this part of the city for years, and this could be a good chance to start one. For new buyers, what restrictions will there be? How can this sub-lot be used? The most important question is whether the city can do this for other properties and non-profits.