HISTORIC PRESERVATION FAQ

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Is my property historic?

Structures that are over 50 years of age can be considered historic and may be eligible for local landmark status or listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In Plainfield, historic landmarks must meet one or more of twelve established criteria. Under exceptional circumstances, properties that are less than 50 years of age can be considered eligible for the National Register.

Is my property designated as a local historic landmark or part of a local historic district?

The Village has designated a number of local landmarks and two historic districts.  Designated properties are listed on these pages. Planning Staff can also answer questions about designated properties.

What is a local landmark?

A local landmark is a property recommended by the HPC and officially designated by the Village Board for its historic and/or architectural significance.

What is a local historic district?

A district is a grouping of sites, properties, and/or buildings recommended by the HPC and officially designated by the Village Board for its historic and/or architectural value. A district may consist of individual landmarks, contributing properties, and non-contributing properties.

What is the National Register?

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. It was authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and is part of the National Park Service.

Is my property in the National Register?

One district and three properties in the Village of Plainfield are listed in the National Register:  the Downtown Plainfield Historic District, the Plainfield or Halfway House at 24038 W. Main Street, the Flanders House at 24044 W. Main Street, and the former Standard Oil Gas Station at 24103 W. Main Street.

What is the difference between being listed in the National Register and designated locally?

Listing in the National Register does not restrict what a property owner can do with a property unless the owners are using federal assistance, like the rehabilitation tax credits. Local districts are designated by a Village of Plainfield ordinance and certain changes to the properties are reviewed by the HPC.

How are properties classified?

Significant properties have features that make them architecturally or historically significant. All properties that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places are considered significant.

A contributing property may not necessarily have architectural or historic significance as a single property, but it adds to the overall character and significance of an historic district.

A building, structure, or site that may be part of a historic landmark or district, but does not possess historic, architectural, or archaeological significance or integrity is non-contributing.

What types of financial incentives are available?

Village of Plainfield Facade Grant Program – This program is for properties located within the TIF district in downtown Plainfield. The boundaries for the TIF district are here and additional information on the program here. Historic Preservation is not a requirement of the façade grant program but the degree to which the building is preserved is considered.

Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program - For owners of registered historic residential structures of up to six units that have a substantial rehabilitation that significantly improves the condition of the building. At least 25% of the property’s market value must be spent on an approved rehabilitation project. With the program, the assessed valuation of the property is frozen for eight years at its level the year the rehabilitation began. The valuation is then brought to market level over a period of four years. Additional information is available from Planning Staff and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program.

Historic Preservation Tax Credits - There is a 20% tax credit for a substantial rehabilitation of income producing properties that are certified as historic. This is available for commercial, agricultural, industrial, and rental properties. A 10% tax credit available for non-contributing, non-historic structures built before 1936. Additional information is available from Planning Staff, the National Park Service – TPS Tax Incentives and the National Trust – Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

What are the advantages to owning property that is a historic landmark or in a historic district?

Owning a historic landmark or living in a historic district can offer many benefits. In many areas, historic preservation has stabilized or increased property values. However, historic status does not directly affect property taxes. Since the qualities that make the area attractive will be protected over time, realtors often use historic landmark or district status as a marketing tool to prospective buyers. Many historic districts have review procedures that encourage quality design and renovation.

Are restrictions placed on property owners?

Homeowners of historic landmarks and homes in historic districts are able to paint their homes, perform ordinary repair and maintenance of existing exterior architectural features, replace existing storage sheds, change landscaping, repair sidewalks, and replace existing mechanical and electrical service equipment.

Some changes to historic landmarks or properties located in a historic district require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA).  A COA is required prior to the issuance of a permit for minor and major work involving any new and other construction, alteration, repair, demolition, relocation or other changes that may affect the exterior architectural appearance of any structure or site. These changes may include additions, demolition, decks, garages, new windows/doors, fences/signs, porches, and new construction.

A Certificate of Economic Hardship (COEH) may be authorized for alteration, construction, relocation of, or removal or demolition of a landmark or a building, structure, site, or other improvement within a designated historic district when such property, in its current state, cannot be put to a reasonably beneficial use or the owner cannot obtain a reasonable economic return thereon without the proposed alteration, construction, relocation, removal, or demolition.

Does being a landmark or part of a district restrict how I can use the property?

No. Landmark or historic district is an “overlay” on the existing zoning classification. Historic status will not change the uses that are permitted on a property.

Does being a landmark or part of a district affect my property taxes?

Historic status does not have a direct effect on property taxes.  Substantial certified rehabilitations may be eligible for the Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program.