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Wilmette Approves Lot Variations on Isabella Street

The change will help preserve two prairie-style structures in Wilmette.

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.”

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Ellen Rosenberg April 26, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I totally agree. Those houses are a big part of Chicago's and Wilmette's architectural heritage. I have been enjoying them for 36 years. Ellen Rosenberg Wilmette
Ellen Rosenberg April 26, 2012 at 12:07 PM
See above comment pending approval.
Chi-an Chang April 26, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Thanks Ellen for sharing your thought!
Wilmette born April 27, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Much better than losing them. Thank you, Wilmette. The best would be that they stay as they are, each adorns its patch of prairie, but this is compromise better than most. A major tip of the hat and thank you to developer George Hausen for being smart and sensitive.
carey Lundin April 27, 2012 at 11:08 AM
This just in: Lloyd-Wright home in LA demolished - the owner wants a big box and never heard of Wright http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/04/heres_the_rubble_that_used_to_be_lloyd_wrights_moore_house_1.php
Chi-an Chang April 27, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Thanks for sharing your thought!
Chi-an Chang April 27, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Thanks Carey Lundin. Preserving and building new structures will always be a struggle. Good thing Mr. Hausen is planning to work with the village and preservationists.

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