An Illinois Appellate Court overturned the Chicago’s landmark property ordinance, which protects the 259 individual properties and 50 landmark historic districts from demolition or alteration. Since 1968, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks has been responsible for protecting Chicago’s historic properties.
Arlington - Deming Historic District
Judge James Fitzgerald Smith was quoted, saying “We believe that the terms ‘value,’ ‘important,’ ‘significant,’ and ‘unique’ are vague, ambiguous, and overly broad.” The ruling directly affects the Arlington-Deming District in Lincoln Park and the East Village District, according to Crain’s reporter, Thomas A. Corfman
The balance between progress/development and historic preservation is difficult to maintain:
Landmark designations can restrict an owner’s right to make certain improvements, and with the inability to use a property to its highest and best use, an owner’s opportunity to maximize property value is potentially denied.
On the other hand, maintaining and preserving the historic significance of a property enhances its value in the long run. This is especially true when several properties in a district maintain the look and feel of when they were built. They are said to have “conformity”, another tenet of real estate value.
These arguments are part of the fabric of Chicago. Last year, several mansions in the Edgewater neighborhood were nominated for landmark designation by the Edgewater Historical Society. These nominations were not supported by all this historic homeowners. In the end, the mansions did not receive the historic designation. While property owners’ rights are critical to our freedom, it’s also the duty of groups such as EHS to encourage and create incentives for maintaining the historically significant architecture which makes our city so great.