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Algonquin Village Board to consider demolition request

Published: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 2:05 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 11:30 p.m. CDT

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ALGONQUIN – A group of property owners who have land along Algonquin Road want to tear down three buildings which are in the Old Town District.

The village board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the request to tear down two commercial buildings and a garage at 107-111 W. Algonquin Road.

In December, the village's Historic Commission voted to deny the petition to demolish the buildings. The commission cited the historical significance of the buildings.

All three of the buildings are in "very poor" condition, and have numerous building code violations, according to village documents.

The siding, trim, windows and railings among other things all need repair or replacement. The inside has mold in the basement and roof leaks. The village has cited the property for numerous code violations and levied fines through the administrative adjudication process.

"Ultimately however, village staff cannot physically do maintenance and repair improvements for a property owner, and so this property has continued to have a blighting effect on downtown and continues to consume substantial staff time and resources," according to a memo written by Russell Farnum.

The building also has many structural problems and there are leaky pipes and cracks in the foundation. Repairs to the buildings could cost $100,000, according to village documents.

"Improving the structures from their current condition to be viable for business use would be very costly and it would still likely be a challenge to attract tenants given the abundance of existing commercial space downtown," Farnum wrote.

Facade changes to the properties have taken place over the course of time, and have no architectural significance, village documents say.

There are no plans for the site other than to remove the buildings and sod/seed the property. Any plan for site redevelopment would need Village Board approval.

The villages' downtown redevelopment plan calls for future redevelopment as a multi-story commercial and/or residential development.

Joseph Yeung, an attorney for the LUUCK Partnership, called the Historic Commission's decision to deny the demolition arbitrary.

"It lacks any legitimate reason and it does not meet the commission's mission because the owners' properties do not have any of the historical and architectural significance or value for preservation," Yeung wrote in a letter to the village. "The denial fails to recognize the potential damages to the economic interests, the health and safety of the property owners and the public in the Village."

Yeung told the Historic Commission in December that the owners of the property have been unable to sell the property they bought in 2005 for $375,000. The owners have a list price of $359,000. The LUUCK partnership bought the property to rent it out for supplemental retirement income. However the property turned out to be a "money pit" for the owners, according to the demoltion application.

At the Historic Commission's meeting in December, Chairman Jeff Jolitz said the oldest building on the property was built in 1857 and all three of the buildings are part of the few remaining structures of Algonquin's first business district.

He argued the buildings should be preserved and that it's not the commission's responsibility to help a property owner who may have made a bad investment.

Tom Green, who lives on LaFox River Drive, objected to the demolition request and said the buildings are part of the Old Town neighborhood's streetscape, and vintage structures usually receive more care.

Historic Commission member Edward Mudra said the property needed "old fashioned elbow grease" and routine maintenance such as pulling weeds, washing windows, power washing and paint to eliminate the blighted look and make the buildings presentable.

He added that it would be "a shame" for these buildings to be demolished because of lack of maintenance and repair, according to commission minutes.

To attend

What: Algonquin Village Board

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Ganek Municipal Center, 2200 Harnish Drive

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