A St. Charles man who has been working on a home improvement project since 1975 has until April 12 to show that he has made significant progress on his roof. If not, the city could proceed with a hearing to make repairs and charge Cliff McIlvaine for the work or demolish the home completely.
"Sadly, it's been our experience that if we're not here (in court) regularly, things don't get done," Phil Luetkehans, attorney for the city of St. Charles, told Kane County Judge David Akemann Monday during a court hearing. "(The demolition motion) has been the one hammer we've been successful with."
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Akemann recently was assigned to the case, which began in late 2010 when the city sued McIlvaine in an effort to receive permission to inspect his home in the 600 block of Prairie Street.
In the lawsuit, the city argued that McIlvaine's home presented a public safety risk and that he had not allowed city officials to inspect his property since he was granted a building permit in 1975.
McIlvaine eventually inked an agreement in 2011 that he would complete his project by September 2012. However, McIlvaine missed numerous deadlines, refused to connect to the city water supply, was found in contempt of court last summer and jailed for two weeks.
In June 2012, a different judge also imposed a $100 per day fine for every day McIlvaine's project was behind. In November, city attorneys filed court papers to hold a hearing on whether the city could perform the work and send McIlvaine the bill or demolish the home completely.
Monday, Luetkehans said McIlvaine had completed exterior brick work on the home. McIlvaine has designed a special roof that a contractor says requires temperatures above 40 degrees to install.
The roof will take an estimated three months to install, and if work begins on April 1, McIlvaine could be on the hook for an estimated $40,000 in fines, plus attorney fees.
If McIlvaine appears in court on April 12 and cannot show Akemann that progress is being made on the roof or show a construction schedule, Luetkehans said the demolition or city repair option is still on the table.
"We're hoping that Mr. McIlvaine makes progress in the spring and we don't have to come in and ask to do the work ourselves," Luetkehans said. "However, if we fail to see the progress we hope to see, we will proceed with our motion."