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updated: 8/22/2011 7:47 PM

Vernon Hills back in court on odor complaint

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Vernon Hills officials will be back in court this week contending the owner of a house in the Stone Fence Farm subdivision failed to correct problems associated with a noxious odor emanating from the structure, as ordered by a Lake County judge.

Lisa Sliwa had until the end of July to eliminate the odor, which village officials say has had an adverse affect on the neighborhood. But a court-ordered inspection to verify compliance two weeks later showed it was still present outside the home.

Sliwa's attorney John W. Quinn was not available for comment Monday.

Court documents filed Friday cite animal waste as the source of the odor, saying the interior of the home was "virtually coated with animal urine and feces." Standing water and mold were found in the basement and a dangerous condition exists because the electrical system is in substantial disrepair, the village contends.

The petition, filed by village attorneys in Lake County circuit court, says the property remains in violation of village code and that Sliwa violated the order and should be held in contempt of court. It also asks for fines of $1,000 per day dating to June 13 and asks the court to order corrective action for issues identified in the village inspection report.

After that visit nearly two weeks ago, village inspectors declared the home to be unsafe for human occupancy or use.

The inspection report said no animals were present but noted a very strong odor of animal urine throughout the home. The structure was unfit for occupancy because of the degree of unsanitary conditions, according to the report.

According to the report, animal fecal matter and urine saturated the floor sheathing, drywall, framing, and heating/air conditioning duct system, and mold was present in the basement, family room and second-floor bath.

The situation at Sliwa's home on Brook Hill Lane has been ongoing, and the village last October filed a lawsuit. During a bench trial in June, several witnesses testified about the odor, and neighbors next door said they couldn't use their backyard deck because of it.

Sliwa's attorney had contended the village was trying to invade her privacy.

"It's not a fine issue or a violation issue in a traditional sense," said Village Manager Mike Allison. "This is an issue of compliance."

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