Zaruba v. Village of Oak Park

296 Ill. App. 3d 614, 695 N.E.2d 510, 230 Ill. Dec. 1020 (1998)

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Zaruba v. Village of Oak Park

Illinois Appellate Court
296 Ill. App. 3d 614, 695 N.E.2d 510, 230 Ill. Dec. 1020 (1998)

Facts

Homeowner John Zaruba (plaintiff) filed suit in circuit court to contest the Village of Oak Park’s (Village) (defendant) denial of a Certificate of Economic Hardship that would have allowed Zaruba to demolish a house on property he owned within the Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie School of Architecture Historic District. Zaruba lived next-door to the house he sought to demolish. Zaruba purchased the house from his elderly neighbor John Glavin for $227,500–well over its estimated market value–with the intent of demolishing the Glavin house and replacing it with a garage. Zaruba applied for a demolition permit but was denied because he had not obtained a Certificate of Appropriateness or a Certificate of Economic Hardship, as required by the local Historic Preservation Ordinance (HPO). Zaruba applied for a Certificate of Economic Hardship, and a hearing was held before the Historic Preservation Commission at which evidence was presented that the Glavin house was structurally sound but in a state of disrepair that would require considerable renovation. The Village and Zaruba presented conflicting evidence regarding the cost of renovation, which ranged between $60,000 and $253,000. A local real estate agent testified that the Glavin house would sell as-is for far less than Zaruba had purchased it and might sell for about $300,000 after rehabilitation. The Commission denied Zaruba’s application on grounds that Zaruba failed to prove that the house had no reasonable economic use, that Zaruba would reap economic benefit from demolition, and that if any economic hardship existed, it was Zaruba’s own fault. The Village adopted the Commission’s findings, and Zaruba filed for review in the circuit court, which reversed the Village’s denial. The Village appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Zwick, J.)

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