Property owners who intentionally let historic buildings languish so they can be torn down and redeveloped would face fines under a new proposal from a North Side alderman.
The City Council Zoning Committee has approved a proposal from Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) that would fine property owners between $1,000 and $2,000 for intentionally letting buildings within protected historic districts deteriorate in attempt to get around city rules protecting them.
Under the proposal, which goes before the full City Council next week, the city would issue no construction permits for a new building on a site while it pursues a case against the property owner. If the city prevails in its case against the owner, new construction on the property could be banned for up to 10 years.
Hopkins told the Tribune he wanted to do something after learning that a house in Old Town “gradually was allow to fall into a state of disrepair and decay,” noting neighbors indicated the landlord had the resources to make repairs but held off in order to justify an eventual teardown of a landmark-protected structure.
Hopkins’ ward includes areas such as Ukrainian Village, which, like Old Town, has seen many lots with single-family homes sell to developers who have built multi-unit dwellings in their place. Some of those homes were built around the time of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. [Chicago Tribune] — Scott Klocksin