Century-Old Plainfield Home to Face the Wrecking Ball

Built in 1885, the Route 59 house will be razed to create additional parking for Overman-Jones Funeral Home.

A 127-year-old Route 59 home will be torn down to make way for a parking lot.

With Mayor Mike Collins casting the deciding vote, the Plainfield Village Board on Monday gave Overman-Jones Funeral Home the OK to demolish the home at 15205 S. Route 59 to expand its existing parking lot by 24 spaces.

Village Planner Michael Garrigan said the house, built in 1885 and located north of the funeral home, is identified in the village’s comprehensive plan as part of the business transition district (BTD). The BTD designation encourages property owners to convert homes to low-traffic businesses rather than demolishing them.

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Even so, the board voted 3-2 in favor of demolition, with trustees Dan Rippy, Jim Racich and Margie Bonuchi voting yes. Trustees Garrett Peck and Bill Lamb voted against demolition, while Paul Fay abstained, requiring Collins to vote.

The mayor's yes vote brought the total to 4-2, giving the funeral home the OK to proceed with plans to raze the house.

The board’s action paves the way for demolition, but Garrigan said the business will have to have the property rezoned for commercial use.

“They’ll probably be doing that before applying for demolition,” Garrigan said, adding it’s unclear how soon the home could be demolished.

Vision still unclear

The home is part of an area being looked at as part of the “Vision for Division” study, which is aimed at creating a vision, or plan, for the Route 59 corridor from Main Street south to Union Street.

At issue is whether the area should remain BTD, which consists mainly of office and other low-traffic uses, or become home to more intense, higher-traffic commercial properties.

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Through a partnership with consulting firm Civic ArtWorks, the village is reaching out to residents via social media and public meetings to get input on the corridor’s future.


Residents can leave comments at www.visiondivision.civicartworks.com, or leave feedback via Facebook or Twitter. There is no deadline for leaving feedback.

Garrigan said a “Vision for Division” public workshop is tentatively slated for Nov. 20. 


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Tim November 08, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Ernie, when you can make a single post without name-calling, I will respond to you. Until then, I am done playing into your games. You have no intention of talking about the serious issues at hand, and are trying to make this conversation into some strange game of oneupsmanship. Good day sir.
PlainfieldRes November 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Tim, I thought Faye abstained because he is a contractor for Overman. Not sure what kind of work he does and I will not speculate, but I was under the impression that was the reason for the abstainment, not property ownership.
Tim November 08, 2012 at 09:04 PM
PlainfieldRes, that sounds about right. I knew there were some connections but I wans't sure exactly what they were. That is why I mentioned that the other poster should look into the reasons why. I much more respect(even though I disagree with) Fay for his abstaining due to a conflict of interest, than I could Peck for his abstaining to keep his record clean for his next election.
Michael Lambert November 08, 2012 at 10:36 PM
A good idea, Ed...one I sketched for village representatives months ago. I agree with PlainfieldRes that it is hard to feel sympathy for Overman-Jones since they were questioned whether the site could accomodate their business back in '96. Under oath, they stated that the site was large enough and no other properties would be needed for future parking. Now, 6 houses will have fallen for this business. I doubt this would be acceptable for any other business proposal in the village. JHP is absolutely correct that the dysfunctional village board's approach to "historic" Plainfield and expenditures on the study of BTD for the corridor are difficult to understand and confusing to residents and potential developers alike. Holding one property hostage to an in-progress study seems to reflect the pervasive partiality that runs rampant within the Village. "Justice for all" (which is spoken prior to every Village Board meeting) suggests that our local representatives would seek all of the facts of a case, and--once informed--discern and debate those facts to provide fair and equitable treatment in accordance with local standards and law. Quite sadly, this does not seem to be the case here where punitive and ill-conceived hasty decisions seem to be favored too often. What is that I have often heard spoken at village meetings: "Don't make a decision in haste that we will have to live with for a long time." Monday's decision was certainly made in haste and with few facts.
Ram Seichert November 09, 2012 at 02:23 AM
@Ed - Lets make some lemonade and campaign signs for your run at the Plainfield Township Highway Commissioners' Office this spring.


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