Elwood nixes 2-year old fire sprinkler mandate

Source: Bigstock

It all started with a text message.

Nearly a year later, the village of Elwood killed a policy mandating costly fire sprinkler systems be installed in all new residential construction.

The move on Wednesday is significant because Elwood stood alone in Will County as having the policy, one which property rights advocates say can add $10,000 or more to the cost of building a home.

REALTOR® Matt Persicketti

In that July 2016 text message to Illinois REALTORS® Member Outreach Manager and Local Government Affairs Director Gideon Blustein, Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® president-elect, Matt Persicketti texted Gideon to see what could be done about the Village’s strict requirement for residential fire sprinklers in all new construction.

Persicketti had a homebuilder client who had run into red-tape with the Village of Elwood in the middle of a construction project. Because of the sprinkler regulation, his future homeowners would ultimately have to pay more than $10,000 in unforeseen costs. The price was especially high because they had to have a special water main installed to accommodate the required sprinkler system.

The situation prompted Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® members and Blustein to repeatedly reach out to then Village President, William Offerman.

Offerman also serves as the Fire Chief in Elwood, and efforts to discuss the policy with him were unsuccessful.

Many weeks later, when Elwood hired a new Village Manager, REALTORS® finally got a meeting with the municipality’s staff.

Gideon Blustein, Illinois REALTORS®

In preparation, Blustein pulled the number of new residential building permits for Elwood and the surrounding communities; the numbers were staggering. While surrounding communities had seen steady growth over the past few years, Elwood’s growth was basically stagnant. Armed with these numbers and the RVOICE brochure, “The Impacts of Mandating Residential Fire Sprinklers,” Blustein met with the village’s staff. While they found the arguments compelling, they relayed that the issue was unlikely to gain favor with the village’s president and board.

In April, Offerman was ousted by a challenger, Todd Matichak, who stressed in his campaign that he wanted to see the sprinkler mandate rolled back.

In advance of Matichak’s first official meeting as Village President, he worked with the village board to shore up the votes necessary to repeal the residential fire sprinkler mandate.

Blustein assisted by sharing the RVOICE brochure and a letter outlining our opposition with Board members. Among the efforts to obtain a repeal:

  • REALTOR® Jim Sim

    Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® Immediate Past President Jim Sim stepped to the podium to speak out against the residential fire sprinkler mandate.

  • Blustein provided updated residential building permit statistics for areas surrounding Elwood which showed their growth as Elwood’s recorded stagnate numbers.
  • And the board was given as evidence the quote from the property owners whose case prompted the debate.

With arguments made, the vote on whether to repeal the residential fire sprinkler mandate was the final item on the June 21 agenda. The measure repealing the sprinkler mandate was adopted with a 5-1 vote in favor of repealing the fire sprinkler mandate.

After the meeting, property owners, builders and Blustein congratulated and thanked Matichak and board members for their leadership.

Matichak urged homebuilders to get to work building in the community.

KIFAR members share flood insurance concerns with U.S. Rep. Kinzinger in Watseka

Kinzinger

Neaves

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (16th Congressional District) provided updates on legislative issues like flood insurance, tax reform and housing and answered questions from 15 members of the Kankakee-Iroquois-Ford-Association of REALTORS® (KIFAR) Wednesday in Watseka.

Federal Political Coordinator Ed Neaves led the discussion, which also covered developments with the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Neaves and his fellow REALTORS® emphasized the importance of extending national flood insurance past the Sept. 30 expiration date, since Watseka is in a flood plain and the National Association of REALTORS® estimates that 40,000 real estate transactions could be affected.

Kinzinger is in his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and his district covers 14 counties in northern Illinois.

Governmental Affairs team watching out for REALTORS® during holiday weekend

Lobbyists Greg St. Aubin and Julie Sullivan won’t be doing any grilling this weekend because they’ll monitoring legislative activity at the State Capitol on behalf of REALTORS® and property owners.

While REALTORS® try to squeeze in a picnic, a barbecue or a sporting event sometime during the Memorial Day weekend, the Illinois REALTORS® statehouse lobbyists are monitoring activity at the State Capitol.

The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 31 and many bills are under consideration that could affect REALTORS® and property owners they represent. And of course, legislators are also working to resolve the state budget crisis. Since the House is scheduled to meet Sunday and Monday and the Senate is scheduled to meet Monday, lobbyists figure to have a very busy weekend keeping up with advancing legislation.

 

 

REALTOR® sworn in as Lincoln mayor Monday

Seth Goodman, REALTOR®. Source: ME Realty

REALTOR® Seth Goodman, broker-owner of ME Realty, was sworn in as Lincoln mayor Monday night during the first city council meeting of the new fiscal year.

Goodman won the Republican primary in March and was unopposed in April.

Goodman has been a REALTOR® since 2008, and was named a member of the NAR 30 Under 30 class of top brokers in 2012.

 

About 750 REALTORS® attend luncheons, legislative briefings before visiting State Capitol

With the largest crowd ever expected for the annual Capitol Conference & REALTOR® Lobby Day, members attended three luncheons and legislative briefings, one at Illinois REALTORS® headquarters and two within the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® gathered at the Illinois REALTORS® headquarters while several central Illinois associations met in the Lincoln Room at the DoubleTree and all others gathered in the Presidential Ballroom of the DoubleTree. With assistance from association leaders, Senior Vice President, Governmental Affairs Greg St. Aubin, Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Julie Sullivan and Manager of Grassroots and Political Programs Neil Malone conducted the legislative briefings.

REALTORS® at the two locations then grabbed bus rides to the State Capitol to meet with their legislative leaders, some planned and some spontaneous.

See photo gallery below.