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The Plan Commission is one of several City of Evanston boards, commissions, and committees. It is comprised of Evanston residents who volunteer their time to study, hear public comment, and advise the City Council on matters related to land use, zoning, physical planning, and urban design. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the Plan Commission.
1. What is the purpose of the Plan Commission, and who comprises it?
The purpose of the Plan Commission is to:
- Make recommendations to the Planning and Development Committee of the City Council on planned development proposals, zoning map amendments, and text amendments.
- Formulate basic policies for a Comprehensive Plan
- Initiate studies concerning present and future development and redevelopment of the City
- Prepare recommendations for the annual revision of the Capital Improvement Program
- Prepare an annual report on the adequacy of the Comprehensive Plan, the Zoning Ordinance, and the Capital Improvement Plan as instruments of long-term development policy (77-0-62; 13-0-77).
The Plan Commission is comprised of nine voting members appointed by the Mayor and several non-voting associate members appointed by the Plan Commission. All members are Evanston residents.
2. How can I become a Plan Commission member?
Appointments to the Plan Commission are coordinated through the Mayor’s Office. The application form and additional information about the application process can be found here.
3. When does the Plan Commission meet, and how can I find out about upcoming meetings?
The Plan Commission typically meets on the second Wednesday of the month from 7pm-11pm in Council Chambers of the Civic Center (2100 Ridge Ave, second floor). Special meetings may be scheduled as needed at the discretion of the Plan Commission Chair. Meetings are announced and publicized through several mechanisms including:
- The City's online calendar and Plan Commission web page with agendas, minutes, transcripts, and meeting schedule. Hardcopy agendas are posted in the Civic Center.
- The agenda is emailed to residents who have subscribed to the following listserve: email@example.com. To be added to this listserve, please click here.
- Public notices for proposed planned developments, map amendments and text amendments are mailed per zoning ordinance requirements (refer to Title 6 of the City Code).
4. I’ve never been to a Plan Commission meeting. Who typically attends these meetings, and what should I expect?
Plan Commission meetings are open to the public and subject to Illinois Open Meeting Act requirements. Meeting attendees tend to be Evanston residents who received a public notice and/or meeting agenda in the mail from the City that has information about a proposed project and the upcoming meeting about the project.
If the project is a proposed planned development, zoning ordinance text amendment, or zoning map amendment, the meeting will take the form of a public hearing. The Plan Commission Rules have specific procedures in Article XI that pertain to public hearings (procedures begin on page 9).
If the project is a proposed plan for the city or a neighborhood plan, the discussion will take the form of a public meeting. The current rules do not necessarily specify a procedure for public meetings, but the Plan Commission typically follows the procedures for public hearings as modified at the discretion of the Plan Commission Chair.
5. Before I attend a Plan Commission meeting or submit comments, I need more information about the project. What are my options for assistance?
City staff are available to answer questions about the project and public hearing/meeting, provide a copy of the Plan Commission Rules, and direct residents to additional information online and at various locations within Evanston where hardcopies of meeting materials can be viewed (Civic Center and downtown library, 3rd floor reference desk during business hours). Specifically:
- For planned developments, contact the Zoning Office with questions at 847-448-8230. The City’s Zoning Ordinance is available online here (Title 6).
6. How is the Plan Commission meeting agenda determined, and how do I know if the Plan Commission will have time to address the item that interests me?
City staff works with the Plan Commission Chair to determine the meeting agenda. Items are typically listed on the agenda in chronological order, with unfinished business listed first followed by new business. However, the order of agenda items is subject to change at the discretion of the Plan Commission Chair.
If the Plan Commission does not complete an agenda item or is unable to begin the next agenda item at a meeting, the item is typically continued to a subsequent meeting (also sometimes referred to as a ‘date certain’). The item will typically be listed early on the agenda for the next meeting since it is unfinished business.
7. How can I stay informed of activities in between Plan Commission meetings? Where can I get the latest information? What if I do not have access to a computer or the internet?
City staff maintains several Plan Commission web pages. The Plan Commission’s purpose and membership can be found here. Agendas, minutes, and transcripts can be found here. Information on planned developments can be found here. Additional web pages are created as needed for plans and special projects, such as Central Street, Downtown, and West Evanston.
Prior to meetings, staff updates these web pages and prepares and distributes hardcopies of relevant materials to the Plan Commission and makes this information available for viewing in the Civic Center and downtown library (3rd floor reference desk). Meeting agendas are also posted in the Civic Center.
8. I would like to speak at an upcoming meeting. Do I have to sign-in to speak? Are there time limits? Can I give a presentation? What happens if a meeting ends before I get the chance to speak?
Sign-in sheets are provided at each Plan Commission meeting for which public comment is anticipated to be heard, and the first person to sign-up is typically the first to speak.
The Plan Commission rules do not address time limits for citizen comments or citizen presentations, but the Plan Commission typically does allow citizen presentations and does not impose time limits on citizen comments at meetings.
If a meeting runs out of time before the Plan Commission can make a recommendation, the matter is continued to a subsequent Plan Commission meeting (also sometimes referred to as a ‘date certain’). If the public comment period is still open, the Plan Commission typically ‘rolls over’ the sign-in sheet to the next meeting and starts with the next speaker on the list. Additional speakers may be allowed to add their names to the list. If a speaker is unable to attend the next meeting at which public comment is anticipated to be heard, comments may be submitted in writing (please see question 9 below to provide comments in writing).
9. I am unable to attend an upcoming meeting where public comment is anticipated to be heard. How can I submit my comments in writing?
Residents are highly encouraged to speak at meetings but if you are unable to attend, City staff will forward letters and emailed comments to Plan Commission members and file a copy as part of the record. Emails may be sent to: . Comments may be typed in the body of an email or attached as a Word document or a PDF. Handwritten letters and signed typed letters may be faxed to (847) 448-8120 or mailed to the following address:
City of Evanston
2100 Ridge Ave, Room 3000
Evanston, IL 60201
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