River Forest’s Historic Preservation Ordinance is toothless. Was built to be toothless, a sop to those in town who believe preservation is a virtue, not an attack on private property rights. That’s why each time a debate surfaces on demolishing a likely historic River Forest home, the commission is left with the numbingly limited option of delaying the wrecker’s ball by six months.
The delay is intended to either outlast a developer with money tied up in an unpopular project or, in a more fairy tale version, provide time for a great and creative solution that still gives the developer a tidy profit.
Currently under debate is a modest home on William Street. Its reason to exist, and to continue to exist, is its place on a block designed as a planned community of affordable Prairie-style homes. We think that is historic and architecturally significant. We strongly urge the commission to throw its challenge flag and buy six more months.
Meanwhile, is there the will in River Forest to finally draft an ordinance that is not so purposefully wishy-washy?