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  1. The Village’s qualifications for historic designation are actually quite specific, and 512 Sunrise Avenue meets them. For everyone’s reference, here they are:

    http://www.lakebluff.org/sitemedia/documents/Publications/landmark%20homes%20brochure.pdf

    The fact is, while there are about 2100 homes in the Village, only 15 — 512 Sunrise being one of them — have received historic designation. The Village is hardly profligate in bestowing the designation. And any drive around the east side of town will tell you many homes quite obviously do not deserve it.

    As for personal property rights, it’s not a matter of “taking them away”, it’s a matter of balancing them against the historic character of a town. It’s not an either/or.

    Finally, yes, the HPC is biased and agenda-driven. In fact, that bias and agenda is in their name, for all to see: Historic Preservation. God bless them for it.

    • 1) “Character” is subjective, and thus becomes capricious and arbitrary. The open admission of bias and agenda bears this out, and demonstrates a hypocrisy regarding “balance”.
      2) Eminent domain requires just compensation. Preventing the alteration or demolition of a property is indeed eminent domain. Taking away property (rights) without just compensation is indeed an “either/or” proposition. If “historic character” is so valuable to Lake Bluff, then the village should be willing to financially compensate property owners for it (and residents should be willing to pay more property taxes to fund it). Attach financial compensation to such preservation restrictions, and then we can talk about “balance”.
      3) “Character” can be obtained and maintained (more cost-effectively) with architectural standards rather than preservation. The Village of Lake Bluff will hopefully consider all approaches, constituencies, and facets to this issue.

  2. The village should tighten the requirements for a home to be landmarked. Out of the 20 or so criteria on the application this house meets ZERO of the historic qualifications and maybe 2 or 3 of the architectural criteria. This home is not even the original home on that lot. It should have never been landmarked in the first place. If this house is landmarked, then so should every home in east lake bluff.

  3. “Historic character” is subjective, so who gets to decide what that means for a community? We all love “quaintness”, but is that a sufficient reason to take away someone’s property rights in America? I urge Kathy O’Hara, the HPC, and others to consider the following points:

    A designation on a property that prevents the owner from altering or demolishing it is, in fact, taking financial rights away from the owner. When eminent domain is used to seize private property for “public good”, the owner must be compensated at fair market value. A preservation designation is the same, in effect, as eminent domain. Is the Village of Lake Bluff prepared to financially compensate property owners for the financial burden of a preservation designation?

    “Character” and “quaintness” can be had through architectural controls on new construction just as well as the preservation route. In lieu of preservation powers, the Village can adopt and enforce any number of architectural guidelines when a property owner submits plans for approval and permitting. I suggest that this approach is closer to a win-win than handing more power to a 4-person, biased, agenda-driven commission…

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