Palatine village councilmen June 20 agreed to allocate funding to assist the Palatine Historical Society.
During the Nov. 8, 2021 village council meeting, a group of residents urged the village to develop historic preservation guidelines for homes and commercial buildings, and create the Historic Preservation Commission to evaluate whether proposed building changes and demolitions fit those guidelines. Village staff spent the next few months researching whether the suggestions made sense, and what else could be done to support the society’s historic building.
Village Manager Reid Ottesen recommended to the council the village allocate around $5,000 annually to support the Palatine Historical Society which will aid in things like research and historical plaque repairs. The village will also leverage its website to help get the word out about the society’s projects and historic preservation resources. Ottesen advised against creating landmark standards for buildings, arguing that it would be too intrusive — a position that the council agreed with.
Deputy Village Manager Hadley Skeffington-Vos told the council that the historical society will be able to use the village funding for a wide variety of purposes, including repairing historical markers and digitizing its collections for easier sharing. The village will use its website and social media accounts to promote historical society activities and events. It will also set up a page with links to resources for property owners who want to “pursue historic preservation on their own.”
Skeffington-Vos also mentioned that the village would be willing to share its Geographic Information System data, which will allow the historical society to do online maps for events such as garden walks and cemetery walks.
Historical society board member and former board president Joe Petykowski said that the organization appreciated the village’s response and that they would do anything they can to help the village in return.
Ottesen said that while he believes the village should help property owners who want to put restrictive covenants on their buildings that would prevent certain modifications and/or demolitions, having the village limit what property owners can do to historic buildings was a step too far.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Ottesen said. “I think we have a lot of great old structures downtown that people restored, brought up and enhanced, but when you start talking about restrictions, you have to use certain kinds of material… you’re really infringing on a lot of private property rights.”
Councilman Kollin Kozlowski (Dist. 5) agreed. “I don’t want to do anything that handcuffs us,” Kozlowski said.
Phillip Etter, one of the residents who spoke at the Nov. 8 meeting, said that it was never their intention “to place restrictions on what people could do with their homes.”
“We wanted to save structures, any structures in Palatine (that are historically significant) from being demolished, if at all possible,” he said, adding that he understood that it wasn’t always possible for financial or structural reasons.
Etter reflected that, after moving to Palatine, he ended up buying a historic home that has come to mean a great deal to him. And he said that he was happy that the historical society will get a village investment.
“I could not be more thrilled that the historical society is going to benefit from some things we brought up,” Etter said.
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