Chicago Landmarks Law Struck Down

Confirming the worst fears of architectural preservationists throughout Chicago, a state appellate court struck down the city’s landmark law for being “unconstitutionally vague.” Mara Georges, the city’s corporation counsel, has filed an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, arguing that everybody else’s landmark laws are vague, too, and courts have been OK with them. If the appeal fails, 277 landmarks and 51 historic districts will be endangered, including some of the most important examples of American architecture in the country. Imagine Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House or Louis Sullivan’s former Carson Pirie Scott & Co. store left to the greedy clutches of developers. Also, the appellate court decision establishes a terrible precedent for landmark laws in other cities.

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