Preservation Commission rebooted

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Landmarks in limbo

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board is once again accepting applications from individuals interested in appointment to McHenry County HIstoric Preservation Commission.

The political tug of war, which had stunted efforts to repopulate the seven-member advisory board, thankfully appears to be over. Available positions include: one seat expiring in 2020, two terms expiring in 2021, one term expiring in 2022 and three positions expiring in 2023. All terms end on Nov. 26 of the aforementioned years.

Attorneys, architects, engineers, real estate professionals with knowledge of historic preservation, and individuals with a demonstrated interest in pre-history, history or architecture are encouraged to apply. You may apply online at

Plenty is at stake. Not only has a landmark application for Ford School in Lake in the Hills been languishing since 2017, 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.”

To date, six people have applied for seven seats. County Board Chairman Jack Franks is reviewing the applications for submission to the McHenry County Board.