Appellate nuttiness

Crain’s is reporting this afternoon that the Illinois Appellate Court struck down Chicago’s landmarks ordinance as unconstitutionally vague. This is a victory for some guy called Hannah who spends his time suing the city. I don’t know if it is because of his inability to compete with other developers, but his tack is to change the rules rather than abide by them. He got three justices (elected? connected??) to agree with him.

Insane. I wonder if they are familiar with the US Supreme Court’s rulings on local landmarks ordinances. Or the Chicago Historic Resources Survey, which makes the local landmarks law more comprehensive than even our zoning ordinance. And how will the alderman react to the court taking away one of their powers??? Who bought this one and for how much? The city says they will take it to the Illinois Supreme Court but officially it is a remand to Circuit.

This is significant. Or maybe not. “Significant” is one of the words these justices (look them up – see if they have credentials) found unconstitutionally vague. These justices certainly have no “values’ or “importance” (more words that they find unconstitutionally vague). Just strike down a law that has been around for over 40 years. And do it on Friday night so some lowlifes can knock their buildings over the weekend.

Quick thoughts – did they not strike down the demolition delay ordinance? In which case, we have 90 days to pass an ordinance without vague words, since most of the landmarks are Orange or better in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey. That means they are still protected.

Insane. The Chicago Historic Resources Survey is one-of-a-kind and it is the definition of a comprehensive planning tool – which is the whole reason the New York ordinance made the constitutional grade 30 years ago. Chicago’s ordinance is even more comprehensive than that one, a fact awaiting true judgement.


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3 Responses to “Appellate nuttiness”

  1. Vagueness and Landmarking « Time Tells Says:

    […] that could apply to every landmark.” This is what I have been saying all along (see my post “Appellate Nuttiness” on January 31, 2009). People, and even judges, are more comfortable with absolutes and doctrines […]

  2. Preservation Wins in Edgewater « Time Tells Says:

    […] have previously commented on that case. The big irony in all this is that people oppose landmarking because they […]

  3. Mayor Emanuel fumbles first landmarks test « Time Tells Says:

    […] and “importance” which of course caused me to opine and label the whole thing “Appellate Nuttiness” at the […]

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