Chicago Landmarks Preservation Ordinance Upheld

Chicago Buckingham Fountain Preservation Landmark
Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain

 For several years now a court battle has raged in the Illinois Courts regarding the constitutionality of The Chicago Landmarks Ordinance. Local property owners challenged the ordinance based on an argument that the language contained in the law violates constitutional due process requirements. The ordinance is designed to provide the Landmarks Commission with guidance when it convenes to decide whether or not to to recommend to the Chicago City Council that a property be given landmark status.

Property owners have challenged the language of the ordinance as being too vague.  The main criteria to be considered are whether the property is one with important architecture, distinctive theme as a district, and unique visual features.

In rejecting the property owner’s arguments, the court held that “the criteria provide sufficient guidance for the Commission to select and choose among that which represents the heritage and character of the City.” The case was before the trial court level after the property owners won an appeal in 2009, Hanna and Mrowka v. City of Chicago. No. 06 CH 19422, which required the trial court to hear the due process and vagueness issue in greater detail.

The trial court’s opinion on the Chicago Landmarks Ordinance is called Hanna v. City of Chicago, No. 06 CH 19422.