Joining Forces has reviewed the portions of the Evanston City Code related to housing in light of affordability and equity. We believe that both Evanston and the surrounding communities should expand this effort and overhaul their municipal codes to accomplish the following:
Recommendations for Housing-Related Code Changes
Our recommendations will evolve as the City of Evanston's and the region’s conversations and plans on equity, reparations, and climate change continue.
Re-define the purpose of the City Code to include establishing and sustaining equity and livability in the City for all residents. Currently, only Title 6 of the City Code, Zoning, includes a definition of purpose, which does not in any way support the goals of sustained equity and housing affordability. At the minimum, the zoning purpose needs to be revised to reflect these goals. At the maximum, each section of the City Code will define how the code in that section will support these goals.
Structure the Zoning and Building Code to support the goals of the City’s Affordable Housing Plan. All of the City Code related to housing should be reviewed to ensure that it is in line with the new Affordable Housing Plan, once completed. The Affordable Housing Fund ordinance, and any parts of the code related to municipal spending on housing must be reviewed and revised to assure proper use and stewardship of the funds to implement the Affordable Housing Plan.
Eliminate single-family-only and single-use-only zoning to allow for more flexibility, which in turn can allow for more affordability and less segregation. Currently, much of the City’s land is zoned for single-family-only dwellings, and usage in many of the zones is limited to one purpose. The City should change the zoning to allow buildings up to at least 4 units in every residential zone, and mixed use development should be widespread to allow people to engage in new work-at-home trends, business development, and flexibility in land use.
Scrub the City Code of ordinances that dictate how people can live and with whom. This includes: