Board should reject moratorium as commission did

On Tuesday night, the Hinsdale Plan Commission wisely voted 4-2 against imposing any type of moratorium on home demolitions. Even the two members in favor expressed doubts that the proposed six-month duration was actually necessary.

Unfortunately, the plan commission is merely an advisory body and the village trustees, who have heard no public testimony, are free to disregard the commission’s vote.

The top-down, hastily-conceived moratorium proposed by the board was sparked when current owners of three old homes in Southeast Hinsdale filed plans to demolish and build new homes on their lots. The village’s knee-jerk reaction is an imprudent way to formulate public policy — particularly a draconian interference with homeowner property rights.

The moratorium proposed by the board is a spectacularly bad idea for several reasons.

First, it is an unprecedented erosion of private property rights, empowering a government body to second-guess and override homeowners’ decisions to optimize their property.

Second, the board’s overly-inclusive teardown ban effects 26 percent of all Hinsdale homes, relying on an obsolete, 21 year-old architectural survey lacking the original supporting database, notes and photographs. (Think your home isn’t affected? You might be surprised!)

Finally, the board has had the past 25 years (since the mid-1990s) to consider meaningful preservation measures. The proposed six month “pause” has been under discussion for 3.5 months. The urgency of this structurally flawed moratorium is contrived.

Preservation should be encouraged with incentives supported by the entire community, not by treading on the property rights of a relatively few individual owners. — Dale Kleber, Hinsdale