Landmark status sought for Urbana home
URBANA — A number of west Urbana residents are hoping the city council will slap a historic landmark tag on a house in their neighborhood, while the church that owns it is protesting the proposal.
City council members on Monday will consider whether to approve historic landmark protection for a house at 1207 S. Busey Ave., named the Reed-Sutton house for its former owners, who were both University of Illinois professors.
Twin City Bible Church bought the property in 2009 and has protested the historic landmark designation. That protest means the city council will need a two-thirds majority vote to designate the house as a landmark.
Historic landmark protection makes it harder for an owner to alter a building. Changes must go through the city and cannot significantly alter the building's historical value.
The house is in Louise Kuhny's backyard, and she is concerned about the church's apparent plans to pave the yard and turn the house into its main offices.
The plan "would preserve a residential 'feel' to the overall property and provide a transition from the main facility to the surrounding neighborhood, which is residential," according to a March 2011 publication from the church.
Kuhny said she does not want a parking lot in her backyard, and she does not want to lose what she thinks is a historic house, either. She said the property is notable for its "well-regarded" architect, Edward G. Oldefest; its former resident, "world-renowned" chemist Dr. Frank Reed; and the rare material used to build it, Joliet limestone.
The Tudor/English revival-style house is believed to be about 73 years old.
Other residents have sent letters of support to the city. The church, meanwhile, has protested the proposal.
Just before the historic preservation commission on June 5 recommended that the city council approve the historic landmark status, a church official told the commission that he did not believe the house met the criteria for designation.
The Reed-Sutton house is one of two historic landmark designations that the city council will consider on Monday. The other proposal is for the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house at 1404 S. Lincoln Ave. Its owners have also protested the designation.