225 Longcommon Road, Riverside

The owner of a local Riverside landmark home on Longcommon Road is seeking to subdivide the land on which the home sits in order to create a lot where another house can be built.

Daniel Jisa, earlier this month, requested a hearing before the Riverside Planning and Zoning Commission to re-subdivide two parcels of land that formerly constituted 225 Longcommon Road. That hearing, which is open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26 at Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road.

The property is presently listed for sale at a price of $1,799,000.

According to documents on file with the village’s Community Development Department, the grand home at 225 Longcommon Road sits on a parcel of land measuring 32,570 square feet, or about three-quarters of an acre.

The parcel is actually made up of two lots: a very large lot to the south and a pie-shaped lot that makes up the parcel’s northern border. Due to the size of the north parcel, it is unbuildable.

Jisa has proposed dividing the property so that his home will sit on a 21,017-square-foot parcel to the south, leaving an 11,533-square-foot lot to the north, facing Longcommon Road.

The area north of the home serves essentially as the home’s backyard. However, there is a large open area of land to the east of the home as well.

The parcels in question are zoned R-1AA, which means the lot must cover at least 10,500 square feet to be considered “buildable.” Subdividing the land in the fashion Jisa desires would allow him to either develop the property himself or sell the new, vacant lot to another developer.

Several messages asking for comment about his plans, which the Landmark left on Jisa’s cellphone, were not returned.

The Riverside Village Board has granted at least two subdivision requests in the past several years, though none involved a property designated a local landmark. In 2014, the board voted to allow the subdivision of the former Northgate water pumping station property, paving the way for four new single-family homes to be built.

And in 2008, the board voted to allow for the subdivision of a landlocked rear yard parcel on Woodside Road, which was sold by one neighbor to another.

But the village’s historic preservation ordinance specifically discourages subdividing the large lots where some of the village’s original grand homes are located.

The ordinance notes that the large lots were “integral” to Riverside’s original general plan, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and that subsequent subdivisions “adversely affect[ed] the open and spacious elements of the general plan.”

Further, the ordinance recommends that “the board shall adopt, maintain and enforce zoning, building and other regulations which shall prohibit the further subdivision of originally platted lots.”  

Jisa’s home is a grand edifice built about 1895 at the corner of Longcommon and Shenstone roads. Known for the lilac bushes that border the property, the house overlooks Big Ball Park.

The house was designed by the noted 19th-century architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee, whose greatest claim to fame may have been employing Frank Lloyd Wright as a draftsman. Wright left Silsbee in 1888 to join Adler and Sullivan. Silsbee is also credited with designing the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

John F. Palmer, the inventor of the first pneumatic tube and cord bicycle tire, commissioned the home around 1893. Two years later, Palmer had moved to England to open the Palmer Tyre Company, in London.

The three-story, six-bedroom home combines Victorian and Tudor elements in its design. It was designated a Riverside landmark in 1993.

Jisa purchased the home in June 2009 for $1.45 million and made extensive improvements to the home’s interior, exterior and grounds. 

This article has been changed to reflect the fact that Daniel Jisa is not a Realtor. In addition, unclear information regarding a quickly resolved dispute between a lender and Jisa has been removed to avoid confusion. Finally, the section quoting village code discouraging subdivisions is from Riverside’s historic preservation ordinance, not the zoning code.