Home News Evanston Accused of Breaking Law in Approval of Northwestern’s Ryan Field Plans in Lawsuit

Evanston Accused of Breaking Law in Approval of Northwestern’s Ryan Field Plans in Lawsuit

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Evanston Accused of Breaking Law in Approval of Northwestern’s Ryan Field Plans in Lawsuit

As expected, the City of Evanston is being sued over its Nov. 20 approval of Northwestern University’s request to rezone its athletics property to permit for concert events.

The Most Livable City Association, a gaggle that has fought NU’s plans for Ryan Field, reportedly filed its lawsuit within the Circuit Court of Cook County on Thursday, Nov. 30, claiming the City violated local and state laws in its review of the university’s request, “harming residents and violating the general public trust.”

The suit (which you’ll read in full HERE or below) also names 12 residents as plaintiffs against the City and is requesting the court find the City’s decision invalid, amongst other requests.

Northwestern announced its plans to rebuild and reimagine Ryan Field in September 2022. Since then, the university refined its plans and developed a multi-million-dollar community advantages package for Evanston.

Led by the stadium’s residential neighbors, opposition grew over NU’s plans, specializing in the negative consequences — equivalent to noise and traffic pollution — of large-scale concert events. The Village of Wilmette officially joined the opposition in August by approving a resolution objecting to the concept. Wilmette officials presented the objection quite a few times to Evanston officials.

An arduous and at times contentious public review process led to the early hours of Tuesday, Nov. 21, when Mayor Daniel Biss forged the decisive vote that made NU’s plans a reality.

Within the immediate aftermath, the Most Livable City Association implied it will pursue litigation and released a press release on Nov. 30 with the ultimate paperwork.

“Our elected officials did not follow the law and that’s why we’re bringing this suit,” said
David DeCarlo, the group’s president in a press release. “The law exists to guard us all, and it needs to be applied impartially — with no exceptions for billionaires or powerful institutions.”

The City of Evanston’s Jamie Mayo, the interim communications director, declined to comment and said the City had not yet been served the lawsuit.

Within the suit, the association accuses the Evanston City Council needed six votes to pass NU’s request, as a substitute of the five the measure received, to comply with the town’s own ordinance.

It also alleges that City officials, including Mayor Daniel Biss, worked in concert with Northwestern officials to limit resident participation in the general public process and to massage the varsity’s proposal into something the council would pass.

“Evanston systematically aided Northwestern throughout the zoning process, looking for a predetermined consequence,” the suit says.

One other portion of the suit claims that City officials ignored evidence that negatively impacted NU’s request, specifically citing an alternate sound report produced by Arup Acoustics and commissioned by Wilmette residents.

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