Discussion continues for Kate’s rooftop patio request

EVANSTON — After several weeks, talks continued at the Sept. 12 Evanston City Council meeting concerning the proposed rooftop patio addition to Kate’s on Main Street.

During the council’s work session, the requested addition was the only item on the agenda.

According to construction manager for the project Frank Brown, the state inspection results were due to arrive within about a week.

“We are waiting on the state inspection before we move forward with anything,” said Evanston Planning and Engineering Director Dean Barker.

Councilman David Welling asked if there were any ordinance restrictions that would hinder the expansion plans for Kate’s.

“The ordinance says if you’re serving liquor outside of the licensed building ... [you] need permission from the city,” said city attorney Dennis Boal. “The state regulates the use and serving of alcohol and the liquor will be served outside on the patio.”

As the discussion continued, Brown said they altered their plans slightly to increase the size of the barrier wall to 10 feet to help block the noise for the neighboring building.

Billie Carter, owner of the The Scoop building next to Kate’s, resides on the second floor of her building and she said she is concerned with noise pollution and other issues.

“It’s my house,” Carter said. “I don’t see how this will work out. If you approve this, I won’t be happy. If you don’t approve it, they (Kate’s) won’t be happy.”

Carter said she appreciated the gesture of increasing the wall size, but doesn’t see how it is going to keep out the noise since her window is located near where the wall would be built.

“A bigger wall just means you’ll be blocking my window from the sunlight,” she said.

Mayor Williams expressed his desire for the two parties to try to come to some sort of agreement on the matter, then went around the table asking each council member what they thought about the proposed addition.

Each of the members seemed to empathize with the points from both Victor and Rachel Reifon (owners of Kate’s) and Carter, but council members said they felt like it would be a good business opportunity for Kate’s and the downtown area.

Councilman Andy Kopp said he thinks Kate’s was accommodating and would be responsible with the rooftop patio.

“I like the idea of keeping Main Street vibrant and active,” Councilwoman Wendy Schuler said. “I look at it as an enhancement.”

Schuler said the patio would only be used a few months out of the year, as weather permitted.

“They are doing everything we’ve asked them to do,” she said. “We want to be business friendly.”

As the discussion came to an end, Kate’s owner Rachel Reifon said her goal in creating the rooftop patio is to grow her business, not to disrupt anyone.

“I’ve wanted to do this for over 15 years,” she said. “I think it will be great for downtown.”

Moving forward, the city will wait to review all inspections to determine if the building is sufficiently structurally sound to host the rooftop patio before making any official decisions.

Before the meeting adjourned, Mayor Williams opened the floor to city officials.

Evanston City Clerk Amy Grenfell gave a brief update on the High Country Behavioral Health building purchase.

“The sale of the building is progressing,” she said. “We have set the closing date for Sept. 26.”

Closing out the meeting, Police Chief Jon Kirby informed everyone arrests had been made connected to recent vandalism at the Roundhouse.

“I want to thank everyone again for their support,” he said.

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