Minooka ordinance targets vacant buildings
By Kris Stadalsky For The Herald-News April 30, 2012 8:50AM
Updated: June 4, 2012 10:44AM
MINOOKA — A new village ordinance gives notice to local property owners and financial institutions who own vacant buildings and lots — register your property with the village or pay a penalty.
The village has had a lot of problems with property falling into disrepair and not being maintained. Vacant lots and buildings are a nuisance, unsightly and diminish property values, according to the new ordinance. They also pose a danger to the public’s health and safety and can be a danger to police, paramedics, the fire department and other emergency responders.
Buildings that have been vacated, the majority now owned by banks through foreclosure, have caused multiple problems, including flooding cause by frozen pipes during cold weather, mold and maintenance issues.
Vacant lots become unsightly with overgrown weeds, improper dumping and other maintenance issues.
When the village attempts to contact property owners, they often find themselves searching through a maze of paperwork and phone calls trying to track down the current owner.
“It’s tough trying to track them down,” said Village Administrator Dan Duffy. “We are hoping this will help eliminate some of that.”
Registration by property owners of all buildings and vacant lots will help the village respond to and address problems as they arise.
The ordinance also spells out the responsibilities of the property owners, including enclosing and securing the building within 30 days of it becoming vacant, making certain outdoor features like porches, canopies and awnings are in good repair and making sure sidewalks are safe.
The penalty for failing to register a vacant property can result in a $100 fine plus the cost of an ownership search.
The ordinance is set up so that property owners and financial institutions have until May 1, 2013, to comply.