Hearing on teardown moratorium continued

Opinions are mixed on a proposed moratorium on the demolition of historic homes in Hinsdale.

The Hinsdale Plan Commission began a public hearing on Zoom June 10 on the possible 180-day ban, which would forbid the demolition of a single-family home or building with landmark designation or that was deemed historically significant or contributing in the 1999 Hinsdale Reconnaissance Survey by Historic Certification Consultants. That survey was a point of contention for some opponents.

“The 1999 survey was clearly over-inclusive in its identification of ‘contributing homes,’ ” wrote Andrew Running of 22 S. County Line Road in an email that was read aloud by Robb McGinnis, director of community development. “It is entitled to no weight and should not be the basis for any decisions by the plan commission or board of trustees.”

Others cited the effect such a ban might have for those looking to sell a historic home. Julie Sutton, a resident and real estate agent in town who she is neutral on the issue, cited data that indicates above average market times and below average sale prices for homes 75 years old and older.

“Any further restrictions on their ability to sell could be very challenging to them,” she said.

David Peckenpaugh wrote that the home he grew up in at 429 S. County Line Road, now for sale, has little value other than family memories.

“The Realtors we have worked with ... both stated the only value in this sale will be in the land,” he wrote.

Among the moratorium supporters was caller Rebecca Haass, who lives in a historically significant home at 441 E. Eighth St. Haass said she and her husband chose to purchase a home in Hinsdale last year after looking in Oak Brook and Burr Ridge.

“We were really just drawn to Hinsdale because of the charm of the older homes,” she said.

She said the modern white farmhouses going up all over town reminded a visiting friend of her hometown of Austin, Texas.

“It’s really these distinctive homes that make Hinsdale special,” she said.

Jennifer Reenan, owner of the Orland Bassett house at 329 E. Sixth St., said she laughs when she hears people say an older home is beyond repair. Her home suffered significant damage in an April 2018 fire and has been under construction for the past two years. Renovations can create homes with all the “bells and whistles” young families want, she opined.

“We have wonderful builders and architects that can make that happen,” she said. “What we can’t bring back is the architecturally integrity of the exteriors.”

The public hearing will continue at a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, following the continued public hearing on the proposed Hinsdale Senior Residences (see story on Page 3).

After the public hearing is completed, commissioners will discuss the issue and make a recommendation to village trustees. That process might not be finalized until September, McGinnis said. In the meantime, the village is accepting applications for demolition permits, informing applicants that they could be subject to the moratorium.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean