Do B&Bs threaten Evanston neighborhoods?
Evanston aldermen Monday failed to reach agreement on whether bed and breakfast establishments are a threat to residential neighborhoods.
The debate centered around how far B&Bs should be separated from each other -- with Aldermen Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, and Melissa Wynne, 3rd ward, arguing for a separation of at least 750 feet.
But Aldermen Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, and Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, argued for a distance requirement of 500 feet or less.
"We're acting as if B&Bs are going to be brothel-like, or party houses," Rainey said, adding "B&Bs attract a certain kind of person -- not revelers. We need to step back and think about what we're saying here."
But Wynne argued that when people buy a home in a single-family residential neighborhood they have certain expectations about what sort of uses will be allowed around them.
"When you permit a B&B, that alters the expectations," Wynne said, "I don't know why we are bending over backwards to permit as many of these as possible."
Burrus said she's seen no research that B&Bs deteriorate the quality of a neighborhood or bring down property values or lead to an increase in crime.
She suggested that, given all the other restrictions the ordinance would impose on the operators, there isn't a need for any distance limits.
Fiske argued that a commercial operation like a B&B would have "a direct impact on property values, but more impact on the feeling of a residential neighborhood as neighbors living together."
Two other aldermen, Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, and Jane Grover, 7th Ward, expressed some reservations about the 750-foot separation rule.
Tendam said he agreed that avoiding clustering would be a good idea, but thought some other measurement technique might be better.
And Grover said she was more comfortable with a 500-foot, rather than a 750-foot limit.
The bed and breakfast issue has been on the council's plate since last year when neighbors objected to a proposed B&B at 300 Church St. on the lakefront.
That proposal ultimately was approved by the council, but it led to demands by neighbors of the property for revisions to the ordinance to prevent similar establishments from opening nearby.
The aldermen postponed a decision on the ordinance revisions until their July 9 meeting.
Top: The property at 300 Church St. approved for use as a B&B.