DOWNERS GROVE – The next step toward saving the historic Edwards House has been made, as a space can be prepared where the house can be moved.
On Wednesday, the Downers Grove Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a height variance that would allow John Tillotson to change his house at 743 Maple Ave. into an accessory structure.
Tillotson has previously said the variance would make it possible to move the Edwards House from its existing location at 942 Maple Ave. to his property.
The Edwards House is in jeopardy because a condominium developer has plans to build a structure at the historic home's current site. Community members have come together in an effort to save the house, a process that has been ongoing several months.
Tillotson said he has accepted an offer by the village to provide the money to cover the move of the house. In March, the village approved giving Tillotson a 10-year, interest-free loan for the cost.
Tillotson initially balked at the idea, calling it "unattractive financially," but said he changed his mind because the house meant so much to the community, and he wanted to help despite the financial concerns.
He said the zoning board decision is a "small victory." From here, Tillotson said he will hurry to get permits for the project. Tentatively, he hopes to have the existing structure at 743 Maple Ave. moved by mid-May to make room for the Edwards House.
David Sosin, an attorney representing the condo developers, said they anticipate construction beginning May 15.
"The reason is because there's so much work to do and then it's winter," he said.
Though the project is scheduled to take a year, Sosin said crews need to start in May to finish the structure's exterior. During the winter, work will continue on the interior.