Revised Gross Point McDonald's Proposal Surfaces

The agenda of the October 16, 2012 Evanston Zoning Board of Appeals meeting indicates that Maurice King, as lessee, is applying for a special use for a Type 2 (fast food) Restaurant, i.e., a McDonalds, at 2500 Gross Point Road, but that the matter will not be discussed at this meeting. Instead, the case will have a hearing at the November 13, 2012 meeting. As previously reported here, McDonald's attorney submitted a proposal in late August that was rejected by the City's Site Plan and Appearance Review Committee ("SPAARC") because of, e.g., traffic concerns. Under the zoning code, the C2 Commercial District in which the property is situated requires a special use permit for a Type 2 Restaurant, as well as a special use permit for a drive-through facility. The first application this summer requested a 24-hour drive-through operation. The SPAARC minutes (click to download) show that the site consists of a commercial Intersection currently hosting an aquarium service shop; the Alden Estates senior living facility is to the north; a veterinarian office is across the street on the east; Schaeffer’s liquors is kitty-corner southeast and the Memorial Park cemetery is across the street due south. The proposal had parking and storage facing Gross Point Rd., seating for 50-54 customers, 18 on-site parking stalls plus a lease of 10 spaces from the nearby Zhivago’s retaurant (for employees). Customers would exit onto Old Orchard Rd. and the plan would allow up to 14 cars to be waiting in the drive-through lanes. The drive-through intercom speakers did not face the neighbors; the applicant expected that 70% of customers would be drive-through. Lighting and materials were also presented and traffic was discussed. Senior city staffer Dennis Marino expressed concern that the proposed traffic plan would cause people to drive up Princeton (a side street just west of the lot, and a logical way for customers exiting on Old Orchard to get back to north Evanston). Public comment included Ald. Mark Tendam (6th Ward) expressing concern about impact on Northwestern University game days, and fumes and sound from 14 cars stacking. One northwest Evanston resident opposed the McDonald’s in this location on nutritional grounds. Two neighborhood residents were concerned about lights and traffic. The committee voted 7-0 to reject the first proposal. Agendas and packets for City committees and panels typically are posted online a few days before the meeting. Because no specifications, drawings, or other details are included in the packet for the October 16 meeting, it's difficult to tell simply from what's online what is proposed this time around. The Zoning Board of Appeals is not the ultimate deciding body. The ZBA makes a recommendation to City Council,which has the final say. Residents who have seen or have access to the current plans are encouraged to post them here.


My understanding is that this proposal will be re-presented to SPAARC before it returns to the ZBA on 11/13. Last I looked it did not appear on the 10/17 SPAARC agenda. Those following this matter are advised to check the SPAARC page and agenda daily for updates.