Algonquin approves building demolition

ALGONQUIN – Three structures in the Old Town District are slated for demolition.

The Village Board, in a 4-2 vote on Tuesday, decided to reverse a Historic Commission decision and allow for the demolition of two commercial buildings and a garage at 107-111 W. Algonquin Road, which is in the Old Town District.

As part of the board's decision, the property owners have to make buildings available for anyone wishing to relocate or salvage them. The owners however have six months to complete the demolition on the property and put sod on the land, among other things.

The owners also have to provide a $40,000 site restoration bond the village can use in case the owners don't complete the work on the property.

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.

"We as a board have to look to the future, and try to blend both the historical value as well as having something vibrant in our downtown that will lure more people, to utilize our downtown." said Trustee Jerry Glogowski, who voted in favor of allowing the demolition, along with Trustees Brian Dianis, Jim Steigert and John Spella. 

The building 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.

The village's downtown redevelopment plan calls for redevelopment of the property as a multi-story commercial and/or residential development.

Trustees Robert Smith and Debby Sosine voted against the demolition request.

"Our ordinance is in place for a reason. It's to preserve this area. Anyone who buys there knows it's there," Smith said. "To sit there and let this property owner neglect our ordinances, pay no attention to it and let this building just go away …. [and] they're going to seize the opportunity to get out from underneath it …  From a business sense I can see that. But at the same point, they have a responsibility to the community, they have to adhere to our ordinances."

The village's historic commission voted to deny the demolition permit. However the owners of the property the LUUCK Partnership, which includes four retirees, appealed the decision to the Village Board.

The historic commission said the three buildings, the oldest of which was built in 1857, are part of the few remaining structures of Algonquin's first business district.

Jeff Jolitz, who is chairman of the Historic Commission, spoke at the Village Board meeting and pointed out that there is no redevelopment plan for the property.

"This is demolition by neglect," Jolitz said. "It's only to take away from our town, with no guarantee the property will be, in a reasonable amount of time, be redeveloped."

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