McHENRY – After a proposed expansion in the Country Club subdivision raised questions about preserving the integrity of neighborhoods, city staff discovered a 2005 ordinance designed to address just that issue.
The ordinance established a five-member Teardown Committee, which reviews demolition and construction plans for certain residential projects.
At its meeting Monday evening, the McHenry City Council unanimously approved the appointment of Nancy Fike to serve as the committee's resident-at-large member.
The chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, the chairman of the Landmark Commission, a staff member from the Community Development Department and the alderman whose ward contains the affected property – in this case Alderman Victor Santi – also serve on the committee.
Fike had approached the council earlier this month about the proposed project on Golfview Drive after the Landmark Commission approved the demolition of the existing home, clearing the way for the property owners to expand the neighboring house.
The size of the proposed expansion is what concerns Fike, she said, adding that she doesn't think it will fit into the rest of the neighborhood, which was built around the McHenry Country Club as a weekend getaway for Chicago residents.
"Historic preservation needs to be brought to the table," said Fike, adding that it doesn't need to be the only consideration, but "it needs to be part of the mix in the decision making."
Alderman Robert Peterson initially questioned whether Fike would be able to look at both sides of the issue or whether she's too close to the issue, but Alderman Andy Glab and Mayor Sue Low said they think Fike would be fair in her evaluation.
And while Fike said she is "certainly leaning in one direction," she added that she hasn't seen the plans for the expansion and how it would fit into the neighborhood.
Fike is a former chairwoman of the McHenry Landmark Commission and member of the McHenry County Planning Commission, the McHenry County Sesquicentennial Committee and the Design Committee for the McHenry Riverwalk.
She also was the administrator for the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum from 1986 to 2012.