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601 Davis St. Vermilion Project

Vermilion Enterprises has proposed to develop a 318-unit building at 601 Davis Street in Evanston. Under the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, they would be required to include 31 affordable units on-site or pay $3.1 million into the City's Affordable Housing Fund. Instead, they have proposed to include 4 units on-site and make a $1.5 million dollar payment to the St. Vincent DePaul Society to use in a new rental assistance and homelessness prevention program. 

Vermilion project, via Evanston Now

Our Position

Joining Forces has spoken against this proposal both at the City's Design and Project Review Committee meetings and at the Plan Commission meeting on November 29. Here is our commentary from the November 29 meeting:

Joining Forces asks that the Plan Commission recommend that the City Council deny approval of the Vermillion project, because their proposal related to the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance is grossly insufficient, as highlighted in the packet for tonight.

When this project was last discussed at a Design and Project Review Committee meeting, Joining Forces asked that the committee recommend denial of the project. We do NOT believe that ANY project that fails to fulfill the intent of the ordinance should receive a positive recommendation from that Committee, given the intense community pressure and the interest of City Council members to leverage the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance to create affordable units. For this, and for other reasons, DAPR has recommended that the Plan Commission make a recommendation for denial of this project.

We now make the same request of the Plan Commission. 

While Vermillion has provided extensive documentation of the benefits that its proposal will provide in the form of rental assistance and homelessness prevention, these are a distraction from the main issue. The intent of the IHO is to create affordable units. Affordability solutions such as those Vermillion proposes are being addressed in other ways by the City as well as by other social service agencies, and there are new subsidy programs being considered. The IHO is the only mechanism in place right now to create new units, and that is what it should be used for. 

Additionally, since the City is in the process of evaluating options for addressing affordability and, we hope, will be developing a comprehensive affordable housing plan, this is certainly not the time to support this approach, which does not provide needed units but instead duplicates other programs that already exist. 

Please do not look at Vermillion’s proposal as a reason to give up on our Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. 

We ask you to look at the bottom line here, which is the number of affordable units which will result from this development.  4 units with a $1.5 million payment in lieu is simply not even close to being enough.

Status:

  • The Design & Project Review Committee recommended that the Plan Commission recommend denial of the project to City Council.
  • The Plan Commission voted to recommend denial of the project to City Council.
  • We do not know when the project will be present to Council but will post the date as soon as we know it.