The property at 2437 W. Lithuanian Plaza Court (center), one of 11 Southwest Side properties on the newly published Building Code Scofflaw List. The full list of 99 properties may be found at southwestregionalpublishing.com --Supplied photo
City lists ‘scofflaw’ buildings
Eleven SW Side properties among 99 listed
By Tim Hadac
Eleven Southwest Side buildings are among nearly 100 buildings identified by the Lightfoot Administration as “scofflaw” properties.
The Building Code Scofflaw List was published this month, as mandated by the updated Building Code Scofflaw ordinance (introduced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and passed by City Council in April 2021).
The list identifies 99 building addresses along, with the associated Circuit Court cases, community areas and wards. Building owners will be added to the list by Oct. 1, as required by the ordinance to allow for time to determine ownership.
Southwest Side buildings on the scofflaw list include those at these addresses:
- 5341 S. Hermitage
- 4309 S. Rockwell
- 2437 W. Lithuanian Plaza Court
- 7013 S. California
- 6550 S. California
- 4612 S. California
- 3308 S. Seeley
- 4543 S. Lawler
- 3847 W. 65th St.
- 6204 S. Maplewood
- 5416 S. Seeley
“As City leaders, we owe it to residents and visitors alike to provide the safest buildings possible,” Lightfoot said. “The best way we can accomplish this goal is by updating our building protocols and holding building owners accountable for unsafe conditions. This new Building Code Scofflaw List, with enhanced criteria and mandatory inspections, will do just that, as well as send a clear message that owners who do not remediate code violations will face consequences for their inaction.”
Building owners included on the Building Code Scofflaw List face prohibition of business licenses, zoning changes, acquisition of city land or receipt of financial assistance like tax increment financing (TIF) or obtaining building permits.
Buildings on the list are also subject to follow-up inspections by DOB at least every 12 months, and once removed from the list, continued inspections until the building receives two consecutive inspections, at least six months apart, during which no serious violations are found.
Addresses included on the Building Code Scofflaw List meet the following criteria:
- Occupied buildings;
- Residential and nonresidential buildings;
- Buildings subject to proceedings initiated by the corporation counsel in the Circuit Court of Cook County to enforce building-related provisions of the Municipal Code;
- Buildings subject to active enforcement proceedings more than 18 months after the initial hearing date in such proceedings; and
- Drug and gang houses or buildings being monitored pursuant to the troubled buildings initiative program.
The list does not include residential buildings containing four or fewer dwelling units if the owner’s primary residence is in the building or on the same premises.
Of those building owners contacted by the Greater Southwest News-Herald, one—Jimmy Robinson of 2437 W. Lithuanian Plaza Court—disputed the Lightfoot Administration’s findings.
“It makes no sense that this building is on that list,” he said. “The taxes are paid, and we haven’t had problems with drug dealing for years now. I’m going to make a few calls and find out what’s going on.”
Other Southwest Siders voiced complaints of a different nature.
“My neighbors and I have been complaining to the police, to the alderman, to the Buildings Department and others about [a single-family home in the 4900 block of South Knox],” said an Archer Heights resident who asked not to be named. “The place is filthy, inside and out. There are building code violations throughout. The owner doesn’t live there, and the house is not much more than a crash pad for prostitutes and drug addicts. The place is a menace on an otherwise well-kept block. How it’s not on this list is something I find highly suspicious.”
“When building owners fail to keep their buildings safe, even after building code violations are issued and those violations are referred to Circuit Court, the Building Code Scofflaw List gives our department one more tool to hold building owners accountable,” said Building Commissioner Matthew Beaudet. “It is our hope that building owners on the list will work with the Department of Buildings to achieve compliance, which is our ultimate goal.”
DOB completes approximately 30,000 building inspections per year from the city’s 311 service request system. Residents with building-related concerns are encouraged to contact 311.
To view the full Scofflaw List, click here: https://data.cityofchicago.org/Buildings/Building-Code-Scofflaw-List/crg5-4zyp.
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