REALTORS® rein in Zion’s nuisance property ordinance

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The Illinois REALTORS® does not just advocate against transfer taxes and government pre-sale home inspections — we took the lead in reining in the city of Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance that was, among other things, targeting sexual assault and crime victims.

Zion’s chronic nuisance property abatement ordinance authorizes city staff to contact property owners when two of 13 defined nuisance activities are found to have occurred within a 180 day period. If a property owner does not respond or a proposed plan of action is not mutually agreed upon, the property must be shut-down for a period of 30 to 180 days and all occupants, regardless of culpability, must immediately vacate the building and be subject to homelessness. Other penalties include civil fines and judicial remedy.

The Illinois REALTORS® has long maintained concerns with these types of ordinances that often penalize property owners for seeking police assistance – the police services they pay for. Echoing our concerns, the Sargent Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, writes, in their report, the Cost of Being “Crime Free”: Legal and Practical Consequences of Crime Free Rental Housing and Nuisance Property Ordinances, “these ordinances present numerous potential pitfalls that can cause serious harm to tenant households, landlords, and the community at large and expose municipalities to legal liability.”

Upon hearing of escalated and abusive enforcement, the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® (MORe) Lake County Government Affairs Committee took the lead in investigating, and uncovered, among other concerns, that the city was violating its own policy by enforcing the ordinance even in cases of just one alleged nuisance instance and breaking Illinois law by enforcing the ordinance against the disabled and victims of domestic and sexual violence at risk.

According to a front page Lake County News-Sun story profiling our findings, Zion Mayor Al Hill says the city is now sending far fewer violation notices, no longer enforcing against crime victims, and violation notices now must have supervisory approval.

Illinois REALTORS® and MORe will continue to monitor this ordinance for continued abuse. To read the Lake County News-Sun’s story on Zion’s ordinance, click here; to read the Lake County News-Sun’s editorial calling the ordinance “misguided,” go here.

Independent expenditures from Illinois REALTORS® backs Oyler in Peoria

Registered voters in Peoria have received postcards asking them to vote for REALTOR® Zach Oyler for at-large alderman in the consolidated primary on Feb. 28.

The mailings were sent as part of an independent expenditure campaign. Independent expenditure activities take place in support of a candidate for public office without any coordination with the candidate or the candidate’s campaign.

Oyler serves real estate customers through Keller Williams Premier Realty in Peoria. He serves on the board of trustees for the Peoria Historical Society and is the interim executive director of that organization. In 2014, he lost a bid for a spot on the Peoria County Board.

Illinois REALTORS® supports Gambino with independent expenditures

Registered voters in the city of Rockford’s 1st Ward have received postcards asking them to vote for REALTOR® Frank Gambino for alderman in the consolidated primary on Feb. 28.

The mailings were sent as part of an independent expenditure campaign. Independent expenditure activities take place in support of a candidate for public office without any coordination with the candidate or the candidate’s campaign.

Gambino is the broker/owner of Gambino Realtors in Rockford and the owner of Gambino Homes, LLC. He is a former Winnebago County board member, and was a former majority leader on that board. He is a Republican.

Time-lapse photography captures Springfield YWCA demolition


Anyone lucky enough to be in the third floor conference room at the Illinois REALTORS® building between Feb. 1 and 7 had a front-row seat for the demolition of the old YWCA building on the northwest corner of 5th and Jackson streets. The building has been taken down to make way for a future urban park and pedestrian walkway that will connect the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Illinois State Capitol.

Watch the video to see how the demolition changes the appearance of the block just north of the Illinois Executive Mansion

Peoria city manager, REALTORS® discuss future of city, region

 

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(l to r) Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich chats with REALTORS® Jeff Kolbus and Zach Oyler. Oyler is a candidate for a mid-term opening on the Peoria City Council.

Review of the city’s recently passed budget, including operating budget highlights, investments in infrastructure, rental inspections, code enforcements, property tax levy and historic tax credits for the redevelopment of Peoria’s downtown were among the topics discussed Tuesday afternoon by Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich and about 50 REALTORS®.

The event was organized by the Peoria Area Association of REALTORS® (PAAR).

REALTOR® Jeff Kolbus, Downtown Development Council board member, introduced Urich, who provided REALTORS® with information on community programs and future initiatives, said Local Government Affairs Director Kristie Engerman.

Also, Urich explained how REALTORS® could play an important role in the city’s and the region’s future before he answered questions from the audience. The REALTORS® shared concerns with property taxes, inner city neighborhoods and schools directly impacting the local real estate market. All agreed continuing and increasing the collaborative efforts between the city and the PAAR were important for everyone.

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(l to r) City Manager Patrick Urich and Jeff Kolbus address REALTORS® Tuesday in Peoria.