Fittest loser
Article updated: 6/20/2012 3:46 PM

Palatine avoids trial over former councilman's property

Warren Kostka

Warren Kostka

 
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When Palatine officials left a courtroom last month after a hearing on former Councilman Warren Kostka's violation-riddled property, they were prepared to come back and set a trial date.

But small steps to remedy the numerous issues have since been taken at the North Forest Avenue home, quelling talk of that for now.

"There has been some movement to compliance," Palatine village attorney Patrick Brankin told Judge Margarita Kulys Hoffman during a hearing Wednesday at the Cook County courthouse in Rolling Meadows. "We're optimistic that we can potentially resolve this without a trial."

Kostka, who served on the council from 1997 to 2005 and ran for mayor in 2009, has planted grass seed and begun to address the trenches he dug in an attempt to alleviate flooding he blames on the village. He has another month to address exterior violations, remove debris and relocate a disassembled shed.

Both parties will return to court July 24 for a status hearing.

Unable to resolve issues stemming from the longtime conflict between Kostka and the village, Palatine officials took legal action in April.

The complaint outlines violations including deep trenches with unstable and hazardous side slopes on the property, sand bags, fabric fencing, a broken glass pane, a driveway in disrepair and piles of asphalt, garbage and refuse. Upset neighbors have urged the village to work to fix the eyesores.

Koskta said Wednesday that the village is putting in a "proper" drain on his property that will direct water to a detention area. He rejected the offer of one several years ago, saying the pipe would be too small and empty at the street sewer, providing inadequate drainage.

He said his flooding woes began when the village disconnected its combined sewer system a few years after he moved into his home in 1983. The council has voted against the village buying his home, and Kostka has been a frequent fixture at meetings to complain that the village ruined his property and life.

"It's no fun living in a house that's been destroyed by flooding for the last 25 years," Kostka said. "But if the village is doing things, I'll do things too."

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