County board could reconstitute HPC April 16

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WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board's Planning & Development Committee on April 2 interviewed candidates for its defunct McHenry County HIstoric Preservation Commission and advanced five names consideration by the full county board.

Those recommended for approval were: architect Melody Jacobson of Woodstock, AT&T manager Susan Zeller of Crystal Lake, Realtor Sarah Metivier Schadt of Woodstock, teacher Alfonso Casal of Spring Grove, and Derek Gablenz, a Crystal Lake resident who teaches history in Barrington. Recommendations go to the county board's Committee of the Whole meeting on April 11 and to the county board for a vote on April 16. It was not disclossed how many applications were submitted to County Board Chairman Jack Franks' office for consideration.

Plenty is at stake. Not only has a landmark application for Ford School in Lake in the Hills been languishing since 2017, the historic Cold Springs School in Bull Valley and Haligus School near Lakewood are for sale. They would benefit from protection during this transition period. Finally, McHenry County risks losing its Certified Local Government status – and all of the benefits that brings. That includes training opportunities and funding, plus grants. The county has receive in excess of $39,000 during the the past 20 years.

The county’s Historic Preservation Commission was certified by the state and the National Park Service in 1993. That carries with it certain responsibilities: a historic preservation ordinance, an ongoing survey program that includes a viable landmark application process.

In a Nov. 15 memo drafted to Dennis Sanquist, county director of planning and development, county planner Sean Foley notes that it “… seemed unlikely our (county) CLG status could be maintained if our HPC is replaced by the [Planning & Development] Committee. But that would require further review by the [State Historic Preservation Office] and possibly the National Park Service, because no county does things that way.”


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