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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Buckgrove November 08, 2012 at 12:39 PM
I'd like to commend Bill Lamb and Garrett Peck for their vision in trying to build a better Plainfield. Future generations of village residents will applaud their efforts.
MidwestGal November 08, 2012 at 02:09 PM
That funeral home is a well maintained building that is a welcome sight among beat up, poorly maintained rt59 homes. Coming into Plainfield esp. from 55- it's a dump for miles on 30! Overman-Jones will never let that building go into disrepair! What, should Plainfield buy the home/new parking lot like they did Baci and fix it up? Building a better Plainfield starts with this!
PlainfieldRes November 08, 2012 at 02:27 PM
MidwestGal - A better Plainfield starts with parking lots? The current home is on 59 and far from a dump ($150K MLS listing price).
Miguel Sanchez November 08, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I agree. 30 is also pretty ratty leaving Plainfield.
Tim November 08, 2012 at 04:40 PM
For someone that claims to be pro-business, Garrett Peck is certainly getting in the way of letting businesses do what they need to do to expand. Thankfully, he will be a 1-term board member.
Ernie Knight November 08, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Tim, Where is your righteous indignation about Fay's abstaining? It's a huge issue for Peck, but no one else, huh? Sounds hypocritical.
MidwestGal November 08, 2012 at 04:57 PM
The land is worth 150k not the house.
JHP November 08, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Clout rules, no surprise!!! This action is a discredit to the way the Village Board and Mayor operate. One trustee stated he viewed the building 3 times and this building could not possibly be used as a business. No access to Rt 59, falling down, useless. Apparently, the trustee couldn't see three buildings to the north where a new building with a thriving business exists along Rt 59. The main problem is the lack of rationale thinking. The Village is paying $5000 at least for a Rt 59 study. This will be done by January. The Village can then agree to Rt 59s future. The board recently denied a previous tear down nearby. siting the study. Someone with clout comes in, asks for a tear down and gets approved. If you are spending taxpayer's dollars for input, spend the dollars wisely, then make your decision. If you decide a random a parking lot is OK and strip malls are fine, then approve the parking lot. If you decide you like the home town appearance that exists, don't approve the parking lot and work something else out. On Dillman Street there already is a lightly used parking lot near the funeral home. The above mentioned trustee likes the hometown look so much he recently voted to make the downtown historic. He originally was swayed by a person with clout and firmly stated the downtown should not be historic. The clout withdrew from the district and the trustee changed his vote on the downtown. Are the number of presents under the tree really that important?
Tim November 08, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Ernie, Paul Fay does not run around proclaiming how he is pro-business. He has his own problems, but this isn't one of them. I know this is hard for you to understand, but each situation has to be taken on its own merits. I do not apply a blanket proclamation to every situation like you do.
PlainfieldRes November 08, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Midwest Girl. The property is listed with structure included at $150K. Will County Assessment valuates the land at $55,272 and the structure at $112,749.00 (2011).
Ernie Knight November 08, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Ah Tim, so you apply a completely different standard to Garrett Peck than anyone else on the Board. Criticising only him for taking certain stands and making certain votes. And this is somehow not HYPOCRITICAL? Check your dictionary.
RB November 08, 2012 at 06:08 PM
It will not be missed.
Ed Arter November 08, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Where, and How will Overmans be properly compensated, on a square footage basis, for land equal to the square footage taken by the State? They were "robbed" of the area of 17 parking spaces and recieved a monatary compensation for the IDOT take away, but you can't physically park 17 cars on dollar bills. They need space to park cars or their historic business suffers negatively through no faut of theirs. Should Overmans look to the near South and provide a dual purpose Gateway Park / Parking lot / Rt 66 Memorial with architectural features that marry the design elements of the existing Funeral Home in a "deal" with the village? Trying to make some Lemonade here.
PlainfieldRes November 08, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Ed - Interesting idea on the parking lot to the south. Certainly beats a gas station and would really solve more than just this problem. However, I mention the residential parcels/houses pre-date Overmans footprint in Plainfield by well over 50 years. I have trouble supporting compensation for Overmans when they certainly have no concern about adjacent residents loss of property value as their backyards are turned into parking lots and noise abatement to 59 is lost due to lack of screening.
Tim November 08, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Yes Ernie, I apply each situation differently. It takes more thought, but it gives better results than blanket assessments. Like I said, Paul Fay has his own problems, but voting opposite of his claims is not one of them. I don't agree with his claims, but he is consistent between what he claims and what he votes. Perhaps you should look further into the situation Ernie. Perhaps Mr. Fay owns some nearby property that he felt would be improper for him to vote on something that would have an effect on his other assets.
Ernie Knight November 08, 2012 at 08:37 PM
No, Tim. Being a hypocrit appears to be very easy.
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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