Music school gets green light from panel to subdivide land

An Evanston music studio is set to get city approval for plans to subdivide its property and stay in business.

The Evanston Land Use Commission approved a 7-2 recommendation on February 23 allowing the Butcher Boy School of Music Production, 1224 Washington St., to split its lot.
Studio owner Jim Tullio had lost major business during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has reconfigured Butcher Boy into a nonprofit that helps local students produce musical recordings.

Tullio said a spike in his mortgage payments had made his business unsustainable unless he could sell the unused portion of Butcher Boy’s property. But his first proposal was rebuffed by the city’s Design and Project Review Board (DAPR), which initially ruled against a recommendation in January, noting that one of the newly created lots would be less than the 5,000 square foot requirement for new lots in the city.

The DAPR’s rejection was non-binding, and members of the Land Use Commission, who then reviewed the proposal, sent it back to Tullio for revision. His new proposal was re-evaluated and supported by DAPR on February 15.

According to Tullio’s reconfigured plan, each lot would be 4,613 square feet. Although this introduced two substandard lots to the project, city officials concluded that two lots with minor variations were preferable to one that met size requirements and one that fell significantly below standard.

“We are finding a number of smaller lots that do not meet existing codes because we applied the code to existing properties, said chairman Matt Rodgers.

Jim Tullio, left, works with student Alejandro Quiles at the Butcher Boy studio. (Image from Butcher Boy’s YouTube video.)

The commission also removed a previous condition imposed on Tullio requiring that no curbs be added along Washington Street. While the city has worked to minimize curb cuts, many commissioners have said they believe the restriction will limit options for whoever purchases the second lot in the future. The commissioners also added a provision that the subdivision must be completed within 12 months.

With the commission’s approval, a draft plan of subdivision is then presented to Evanston City Council.

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