How Does the Village Handle Abandoned Buildings?

In Minutes with the Mayor, a new Patch series in which Homewood's Village President Richard Hofeld answers questions from our readers.

In this edition of Minutes With the Mayor,  Village President Richard Hofeld explains how the village deals with abandoned properties.

Want more Minutes With the Mayor? 

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GladvilleGirl June 21, 2012 at 01:27 PM
This is a cool feature, but I'd really love actual written articles & interviews. So I can, you know, read the news.
Paul June 21, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Why can't they get inside the vacant houses? I know of a property that has been vacant for nearly 20 years. Not due to foreclosure, just because the owner does not want to sell it. He's letting the building rot, but keeping the exterior maintained to it's bare minimum. Why isn't there a change to the property maintenance code that addresses these buildings, and forces the homeowner to open his or her house to the village for annual inspection? Introduce a minimum vacancy term, say two or three years, and after that have the property subject to mandatory annual inspection by a third party inspector approved by the village. This will cause the homeowner to pay an annual fee to have the home inspected, which may give the homeowner an incentive to sell or occupy the building. Right now, there is no incentive. Property code violations are a slap on the wrist, and the homeowner, even with repeated violations, can continue to let the property deteriorate without fear of any village course of action.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Paul, there's a situation similar to what you speak of going on in Flossmoor now: (http://homewood-flossmoor.patch.com/articles/frustration-with-flossmoor-homeowner-continues) From the Flossmoor board meetings I've attended, the village always refers back to their limited power of authority. Legally, citations are their main weapon. They can pursue demolition, but doing so is a tricky and expensive process.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Informal poll: do Patch readers (and watchers) NOT like videos? The reason I decided to create this feature this way is because Patch is not a traditional news website nor an online newspaper, but rather a community website. As such, we're always interested in trying out new ways to engage our audience. However, if this is not a preferred means of communication, it can always be rethought.
Bob Levy June 21, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I love the videos - short sweet and to the point/issue. HOWEVER the background noise level must be addressed.
Integrity Carpet & Floor Care June 21, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I like the videos too, but on some news/info sites (like yahoo or foxnews) they have the videos and then have the word for word of the video displayed below (like a transcript). It's really nice in case you aren't able to view a video - you can just read the story.
FlossmoorMom June 21, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Videos- I feel like it's more candid and we get to hear/see if straight from his mouth!
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I've responded to similar concerns in previous renditions of this feature. I wasn't expecting so much activity while recording the interview, but have since learned from the experience. Next batch will be clearer. Promise.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I've gotten a couple requests for a transcript now. We can make that happen.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Thanks for the feedback!
Paul June 22, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Hi Ryan, I understand what you're saying about limited power of authority; however, I don't think there is anything stopping the village from modifying the property maintenance code to allow for steeper and unavoidable fines for repeat offenders. As the code is written now, offenders have a period of time to fix the violations, which is completely understandable for violations that occur less than a few times a year. For those who repeatedly violate the code within a given calendar year, there should be steeper penalties otherwise there is no incentive for the homeowner to continually maintain the property.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) June 22, 2012 at 04:04 PM
This might make for a good follow up.
Homewood Neighbor June 22, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I love the videos - keep 'em coming.
Homewood Neighbor June 22, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Paul - I agree - we live in neighborhoods, not on storage locker lots. There should be some type of annual inspection and fee if the structure is unoccupied. I can only imagine what the inside of the place is like.
Phillip R Baggs June 23, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Ryan, can you ask about this specific property? It is such an eyesore. It seems odd that an owner would continue to sit on it. http://homewood-flossmoor.patch.com/articles/what-should-go-here-1744-ridge-road#photo-9504526
SoSub Resident June 24, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Totally agree with GladvilleGirl; I haven't had a chance to hear any of the videos until today--a voice is just a bit too interruptive, or hard to listen to throughout, then go back to replay to verify info given--but a written narrative would be wonderful, and appreciated.
Gogigi July 02, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Ryan. I LOVE MINUTES WITH THE MAYOR!! These are important issues pertaining to Homewood and we get to hear the answers directly from the mayor. Keep those questions coming!!
Tobias Cichon July 02, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I love these videos. Keep it up, Ryan.
Jeanette July 04, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Ryan: I love the ways the Patch is keeping us engaged!


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