Wilmette village trustees approved variations for a lot on Isabella Street that will help preserve historic structures by former associates of Frank Lloyd Wright.
“For anybody who thinks this is not the right thing to do regarding the lot separation, the zoning board got it absolutely right,” said Trustee Ted McKenna during Tuesday’s board meeting. “I applaud everybody for trying to preserve some homes — some historic homes.”
The house on 1318 Isabella St. was designated a “significant” structure by the Wilmette Historical and Architectural Survey because it was designed in 1928 by John Van Bergen, who worked in Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio.
On 1320 Isabella St. sits a structure designed by Rudolph Schindler, who ran Wright’s office, according to preservationists.
“Blueprints of the structure on 1320 Isabella St. are included in the Frank Lloyd Wright Complete Works Vol. 2 1917 -1942,” wrote Janet Halstead, executive director of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, in a letter urging trustees to approve the lot variations.
Village Trustees approved two variations, one allows the lot to be separated into two 50-feet wide lots. The other allows locating two structures on one lot. The village’s zoning ordinance requires a minimum of 60-foot wide lots in the R1 zoning district and typically requires no more than one principal structure be located on one lot.
Schaumburg-based developer George Hausen requested the variations so he could relocate the structure on 1320 Isabella Street to be with the main building on 1318 Isabella Street. Hausen plans to build a new home on 1320 Isabella St.
Hausen is not required to preserve or keep the two historic buildings at 1318 Isabella Street but has indicated that he plans to work with the preservation community and the village to find a buyer for them, according John Adler, director of Community Development for the Village of Wilmette.
“I really wanted to see the [structures] absolutely preserved but in some ways I feel the developer went a long way toward flexibility in maintaining the historic home,” Trustee Julie Wolf said. “I think it’s a really good outcome at this point.”