Another unconstitutional messy yard law?
Vacant building upkeep measure to be unveiled at City Council today
By Kristen Mack Clout Street
5:38 a.m. CDT, July 6, 2011
Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to support a measure that would require banks to secure and maintain vacant buildings.
It'll be introduced at today's City Council meeting by Ald. Pat Dowell, 3rd. The proposal would hold lenders and other lien holders responsible for securing abandoned properties without having to wait for the foreclosure process to run its course, the administration said.
As it stands, property can sit for years when no one technically “owns” the home, so no one is responsible for upkeep. The city has had problems with enforcement because ownership of abandoned buildings had been difficult to track.
Under the proposed change to the city’s vacant property registration ordinance, banks would be considered owners, whether they are foreclosing on the property or not.
Dowell previously offered broader abandoned property measures which failed to win council approval.
The city spent more than $15 million in 2010 to deal with vacant buildings, according to the administration. More than 500 buildings were demolished or boarded up by the Department of Buildings, costing the city $13.7 million. The Department of Streets and Sanitation spent another $1.8 million for general upkeep on 1963 vacant properties and demolition of 345 vacant garages, the administration said.
In other action today, the council is scheduled to consider:
• An ordinance to legalize firing ranges in Chicago.
• A measure to get heavy truck inspectors back on the street.
• And Emanuel will introduce an ethics ordinance.