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New City Vacant Buildings Rules Delayed

By Kevin Robinson in News on May 2, 2008 8:30PM

The mayor's plan to require owners of vacant buildings to make them more secure was delayed yesterday after lenders objected to the requirements. The new rules would require a building that is vacant for six months or longer to be secured with steel panels, or have all the doors and windows completely installed, dusk to dawn lighting, and an "active account" with a private security firm. Lenders that are holding the property would also have to pay an increased fee of $250 to place the building on the city's vacancy registry. That fee, currently at $100, would be waived as long as the building is kept up to city code.


The City Council's Buildings Committee held off on voting on the mayor's ordinance after lenders complained that the rules would be "onerous." The new rules are intended to prevent blight in neighborhoods that have been hit by foreclosures. "The more foreclosures happen, [the more] people are abandoning their homes. If you live on that block, all of the sudden, no one is gonna take care of it. No one has responsibility. It's gonna affect the value of your property, your assessment -- the whole community. It's a crisis out there," Daley told the Sun Times. "They just tear the plywood off the back and they go in the back or the basement window. We want those fully protected so we're not out there, police are not out there, the Fire Department is not out there," the mayor said. Acting Buildings Commissioner Rich Monocchio said he's willing to make changes to the proposed ordinance, and gave lenders two weeks to propose amendments.

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