Plainfield OKs demolition of home for funeral home parking lot
By Madhu Mayer Correspondent November 6, 2012 12:16PM
Updated: January 10, 2013 1:46AM
Owners of a funeral home in downtown Plainfield will be able to demolish a century-old house to pave way for a parking lot.
The Plainfield Village Board on Monday approved the request of Overman-Jones Funeral Home to demolish the home at 15205 S. Route 59, which is located just north of the business.
Because the funeral home operators need to expand their existing parking lot, village planner Michael Garrigan said the plan is to demolish the Queen Anne home that dates back to 1885. An urban survey identifies the house as having a contributing structure in a potential historic district.
The demolition is expected to create 24 parking spaces for the funeral home.
The issue before the board Monday was whether there is sufficient integrity to the property to support a community impact study. Plus, the area in question is described in the village’s comprehensive plan as business-transition use, which discourages the demolition of any structure and instead encourages adaptive reuse of the existing single-family housing stock.
Garrigan said it could cost up to $5,000 to produce a study, which is paid by the petitioner, not the village.
“The economic benefits that would derive from the expansion of an existing business in the village should be balanced against the character issue that this proposed demolition raises,” said Garrigan. “The subject property is located at an important location in the downtown and a number of urban design issues are raised related to the proposed demolition and expanded parking lot.”
Another consideration is Civic Artworks firm is in the process of drafting a vision study for Route 59, which will outline plans for the downtown corridor. The study will not be completed until after early next year.
John Philipchuck, attorney for the funeral home, said that timeline is not feasible for his clients, who need to expand their business immediately.
Trustee Bill Racich questioned if the house is worth saving.
“This home has no value as a house or a business-transition district,” Racich said. “For (funeral home owners) to be encumbered to produce an impact study is an imposition on their business.”
Trustee Bill Lamb suggested holding off until the vision study is completed.
Voting for the demolition were Trustees Margie Bonuchi, Racich and Dan Rippy. Voting against were Lamb and Garrett Peck. Since Trustee Paul Fay abstained and there wasn’t a super majority, it required the mayor to vote, who supported the demolition.