Virginia Mann 0

Presbyterian Homes Neighbors

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The Corporation owning the property called the Presbyterian Homes is intending to embark on a major development program that will affect the neighboring Evanston residential community. Specifically, new construction will be concentrated on the north and east sides facing residential homes valued in the million-dollar-plus range. Residents living in this area of Evanston are rightfully concerned about how this proposed new construction will affect their property values and the aesthetic nature of this neighborhood. Concerns 1. Throughout the history of this property, the corporation has repeatedly sought exceptions to the original agreement adding major buildings and increasing the overall density of the property. Allowing them to continue to add new structures and increase density to drive their revenues is in conflict with City ordinance and sets a dangerous precedent for our city. 2. The Corporation’s proposal is in violation of the original ordinance that allowed for the initial construction of the existing cottages. According to City ordinance, construction of the existing cottages was allowed only if future development adhered to the same set-back rules and said, “the intensity of use must observe limits so as to maintain the character of the neighborhood.” 3. The proposed plan for duplex townhouses would dramatically change the character of the community. The proposed two-story, three-bedroom, two-car garage (resulting in each building having four car spaces facing the community) duplex-townhouses are not in keeping with the aesthetics of our residential community. The current structures are nicely sprinkled in a random pattern with adequate green space between and around them. The proposed development creates a row of duplex townhomes that are approximately three times the size and more than twice the height of existing structures with minimal green space between them. Especially troubling is the design which includes prominent, community-facing garages and driveways. The result will be a line of garages that effectively create an alley facing our residential streets. Nowhere in our community is there a concentration of townhouses, or even a concentration of homes with garages that protrude from the front of the house where the garage is the dominant feature facing the community. For example, the proposal would result in 19 driveways and garages facing Lawndale, where currently there are none, changing the character of the development from a pleasant pastoral community to a commercial, duplex-townhouse development. 4. The Corporation’s plan calls for a dramatic loss in community-facing green space, particularly the park-like areas on the corners of Golf & Lawndale, Grant & Lawndale and Grant & Ridgeway (Calvin Circle). This proposal would eliminate the current park-like buffer between the community and the development. It seems clear that the original intention of City leaders when the cottages were first built, was to keep those areas free and clear of development. And, every time the Corporation has asked for additional building, the City has continued to require that the open space remain intact. We strongly oppose the loss of these park-like buffers. 5. The Corporation’s proposed four-story building replaces low-rise garages with a massive high-rise commercial structure. This proposal brings a heavy-density high-rise structure into our residential community and creates a commercial visual perspective for area residents. This proposed building greatly adds to the density of the eastern half of the property. 6. The Corporation’s proposal makes no accommodation for additional employee parking, despite the fact that current employee parking is inadequate. With all the additional development over the years, the number of employees parking on residential streets in our community has dramatically increased. The proposed development is certain to add to this problem. Already, it is difficult to maneuver through Grant St., a fairly busy avenue, during the day. Additional onsite parking should be a requirement of any further development of this property. 7. The Corporation has requested a 20-year period to complete the construction. This request is totally unreasonable and would present an undue burden to the neighborhood. # # #

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