Update: Evanston Comprehensive Plan for 2024-2045

Many if not most cities with zoning, preservation, and similar codes also have periodic longer-range plans that serve as both aspirational documents and as touchstones to guide and evaluate development, including requests for variance from code. Evanston’s last comprehensive plan adopted in 2000 was the work of a citizen committee chaired by an Evanston architect and including many with planning and community involvement.

Evanston’s layout, zoning districts, transit lines, and total population have not changed significantly since then, with the notable exceptions of greater built density downtown and along major streets, and visible gentrification and racial change. But the City has embarked on a process that will result in a new Comprehensive Plan, this time crafted primarily by an outside firm. This process, called Envision Evanston 2045, is ongoing, and has started with some broad citizen input sessions consisting mainly of opportunities to indicate, in short notes, some likes or dislikes about Evanston locations. Meanwhile, there are indications that some actors will urge broad amendment to existing zoning that supports and protects single-family housing.

CSNA supports the many positive reasons that cities use zoning to protect environment, quality of life, health, safety, and property values, and that prevent overcrowding, and will work to make sure that the conversation on this is fair, honest, and evidence-based rather than ideological or crafted to exploit Evanston real estate at the expense of its residents. Residents should read the existing plan; it's hard to make a good roadmap for where you're going if you don't know where you've been. We plan to host an Envision Evanston session ourselves, using tools the City has made available. We also urge the Central Street neighborhood to take the survey online (click here) keeping in mind that it' not an abstraction, and that answers will be used to potentially reshape the plan.