Recap: City Council

Here's a recap of our live coverage of tonight's Evanston City Council meeting.

A packet with information on tonight's agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 8:02 p.m.

Mayor says a group of Cub Scouts in a mock City Council meeting recently voted to ban guns in less than a minute.

Announcement regarding Martin Luther King day events. Details here.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber recaps the battle against the Dec. 29 fire at Davis and Oak. Says the wood truss roof design used on that building is the most dangerous type of roof structure to deal with in a fire. Says spend five hours putting out the fire. Says were pouring 1,000 gallons a minute from each of three aerial ladder trucks. With the additional flow from other hose lines, says poured more than one million gallons of water on the fire in the five hours.

Praises firefighters for doing good job on very complex operation.

Says had to refuel fire trucks because they were out so long and public works came out to do that. And had water department increase water pressure in the area as well. Got assistance from many other units in city staff.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says was wonderful level of cooperation. Incredibly proud of firefighters and city staff.

Klaiber says were lucky in that temperature was relatively warm and there was very little wind. Otherwise, he says, could have ended up having fire spread all the way to Maple Avenue.

No final determination on cause of the fire yet. Says know the fire started in the kitchen area of Pine Yard, but are examining the equipment at another location to determine exactly what the cause was.

Says two firefighters in Chicago died in the collapse of a wood truss roof a few years ago.

Gina Speckman of CNSCVB announces plans for benefit event for workers who lost jobs as a result of the fire. Related story.

Suzette Robinson, public works director, recaps the storm. Says got more snow from the most recent two storms -- 26.5 inches -- than from the blizzard of 2011. The two new events have cost the city $411,000 compared to $539,000 for the 2011 blizzard.

Says Evanston conditions are unlike those in neighboring communities.

Says had very little downtime because fleet services did excellent job of maintaining the vehicles.

Paul D'Agostino, forestry chief, says about 60 Sycamore trees have been seriously compromised because of very deep splits. Related story. Says ones with deep splits may close back up, but are still structurally damaged and need to be removed. Says 11 of the damaged trees already have been taken down. Hoping to take down the rest over the next month.

Robinson says towed 500 cars and ticketed another 500 when imposed snow emergency rules this time. Higher numbers than usual.

City singled out for 100% score on transparency award. Related story.

Citizen Comment

Junad Rizki says city isn't producing honest numbers about water sales. Says Evanston ratepayers appear to be subsidizing customers in other towns.

Kevin Schneider, 2300 Noyes Ct., former Dominick's employee, now working at Jewel in Wilmette. (One only 4 or 5 of 70+ employees of that store who've gotten jobs at the Jewel.)

Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson reminds that it's time for homeowners who are senior citizens to file applications for senior citizen property tax exemptions.

Linda Damashek, 1318 Judson, says she lived next door to an (illegal) B&B for 10 years. Says caused all sorts of problems. Says no reason to allow commercial intrusion into residential areas and not even require the owner to live there. Says should be 100% owner-occupany requirement.

Consent agenda

Off consent agenda:

  • A4.2 - Davis Street water and sewer project
  • A6 - AT&T downtown wi-fi network.
  • A7 - 1890 Maple vacant property fine.
  • P4 - Bed & Breakfast zoning changes.

Consent agenda approved.

Davis Street water and sewer project held in committee to seek more information on contractor's efforts to hire an Evanston resident.

AT&T downtown wi-fi network -- proposal amended to go for "free to public" version of the proposal. Approved.

1890 Maple amended to return money to the developer immediately, rather than deduct it from future permit fees. Approved.

Bed & Breakfast zoning changes -- Defeated 5-2 in committee earlier this evening. Defeated 7-2 now. 

Call of the wards

Fiske thanks police and fire department re handling of Chase Bank robbery

Holmes -- 5th Ward meeting Thursday.

Tendam ... Jan 23 7p ward meeting. Discussing township dissolution.

Burrus ... Little Beans Cafe, of Lincoln Park, looking for new location in Evanston, have filed for special use permit to occupy the former Osco site at Oakton and Asbury. Not a done deal yet. Still negotiating lease terms. Will be 9th ward meeting Feb 12 7p at the Levy Center.

Mayor... funeral for former alderman Betty Paden at Ebenezer Church... Friday evening. Exact time TBD.

City manager ... IDNR meeting re Harley Clarke mansion Wednesday at 7p.m. No City Council meeting next week.

Council votes to go into executive session.

Public meeting adjourned at 10:01 p.m.

Comments

Theft by city employees? and Comment on recent fire

During the city council I spoke also on a non-agenda item, the Vortex Restrictors, it appears in the memo to the council, that staff claimed the restrictors have been disapearing, this is nonsense. This restrictors are stainless steel. How does a stainless steel item in a storm drain disappear? It appears to me city employees could be taking them and sell them for scrap. Anyone can read the memo in the city packet.
ofcourse not one public officials said anything to my concern they just passed this, assuming my complaint is real, public officials are as guility as those who are possible stealing these items?

On another item, which I did not comment on public officials and staff commented how dangerous wood trusses construction is in fires. This is alot of nonsense, the problem was the space between the ceiling below the trusses and the roof was not sprinkler. if it had been the sprinklers would have put the fire out.
It is possible the fuel source could have over come the sprinklers but steel trusses would have failed almost as fast. The code makes such spaces sprinkler if the they are deep enough, so did previous fire inspectors and city building department people not do their jobs? The chief's explaination of this while good enough for the council, clearly shows he needs to do more homework.