Group presses zoning code to consider equity and accessibility

Evanston’s zoning codes sometimes mandate economically inefficient land use, requiring excessive lot standards and setbacks — standards that can have “an inherently exclusionary or segregationist effect on housing.”

This observation was found in a report on the Evanston zoning code last fall.

City portion of the Evanston zoning map Credit: City of Evanston

Evanston-based Connections for the Homeless, a nonprofit group leading the fight against homelessness, is currently gathering information from the community on zoning focused on equity and affordability, said Sue Loellbach, advocacy manager for the organization. , to members of the City’s Equity and Empowerment Commission on July 21.

The agency hopes to obtain public information to determine “how we can evaluate the zoning code primarily as a moral document, to see how it is perpetuating or creating segregation, inequality and rising housing costs,” she said.

Joining Forces for Affordable Housing, Connections’ advocacy program, commissioned ZoneCo LLC last year to conduct a review of the city’s zoning code.

“The intent of the review was to identify zoning provisions that create and perpetuate racial and other inequalities and contribute to the high costs of housing,” ZoneCo said in its project brief.

ZoneCo found “several problematic themes” throughout the zoning code in a preliminary November 2021 report.

In its initial observations, ZoneCo found:

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