Update: 747 William Street – Certificate of Appropriateness Withheld

December, 14, 2017

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Village of River Forest Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) voted to deny a Certificate of Appropriateness for the demolition of the property located at 747 William Street. Further, the Commission issued a demolition delay of six months dating back from the receipt of the application which will conclude on April 25, 2018. This delay will provide time for the Commission to seek alternative buyers for the property. The delay may be reduced if the developer agrees to certain conditions that help protect the integrity of the architecture on this block.

The residence located at 747 William Street was purchased earlier this year after being on the market for nearly five months, and with several significant price reductions. The developer who purchased it, who is also a Village resident, seeks to demolish the existing structure and build a new home, citing irremediable structural problems in the foundation, including major cracks, leaking, plumbing issues and sloped floors.

The Village greatly values our historic and significant properties. We also know that maintaining high property values is important to all residents. These situations can be avoided if homeowners take a more proactive approach and consider permanent solutions to protect their significant property. For instance, there is a local landmark provision in the Village’s current Historic Preservation Ordinance. A homeowner can protect their significant property by submitting their property to the River Forest Historic Preservation Commission to become a local landmark. Landmarks have the highest level of protection under the Village’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. We urge residents that live in significant properties and want to protect them to contact the Commission or a private attorney to learn more about what they can do to protect their property from demolition.

The developer has expressed to the HPC and Village a willingness to rebuild the property in keeping with the character of the block, and that he is willing to sell the property under the right terms and conditions. The Village is committed to working with the HPC to market the home in an effort to find an alternative buyer who would be willing to renovate the existing residence.

For more information, please contact Management Analyst Jonathan Pape at 708-714-3563 or jpape@vrf.us.