In the summer of 2006, the City committed itself to updating its land use plan and regulations in order to better guide future development within and around the West Evanston TIF area.
The greater study area consists of five Sub-Areas, which are shown on the adjacent map. These are centered upon the Church/Dodge commercial district, but extend nearly one mile between Simpson Street, on the north, and Greenleaf Street, on the south.
Much of the project area consists of vacant or underutilized industrial properties, the former Mayfair railroad right-of-way and embankment, and the adjacent Church/Dodge commercial district. It immediately abuts low to medium density residential neighborhoods and Evanston Township High School. Land use plans and zoning regulations pertaining to these areas have not been significantly revised for decades and no longer reflect land use patterns or real estate market conditions. Community concerns that this might result in piecemeal development disconnected from existing streets and homes led to the initiation of a neighborhood planning process. From August to November 2006, the City sought input from community stakeholders to update its land use plans and regulations for Sub-Areas 1, 2, & 3.
The new master plan and form-based code overlay will be used to guide future development within and around the TIF so that it can be beneficial for adjacent neighborhood, as well as the city as a whole. Used together, they will creatively integrate and connect new developments with existing neighborhoods, encourage sustainable, well-designed buildings and streetscapes, and promote lively, walkable neighborhood centers for economic and community activity. In 2008, the Plan for Sub-Areas 1 and 2 was recognized by the Illinois Chapter of the American Planning Association with its Gold Award.