Fox Point owners continue fight against Wheeling
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An attorney for Wheeling residents suing the village in federal court over efforts they say are intended to remove them from the Fox Point mobile home community said Monday she will seek a temporary restraining order preventing officials from enforcing the town's building codes.
Chicago attorney Kelli Dudley also obtained a continuance Monday in the ongoing village administrative proceedings concerning code violations at many Fox Point homes damaged by April's floods. Dudley represents 36 residents of the community.
The suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court, accuses the village of enforcing its codes in a discriminatory manner at Fox Point because most of the community's residents are Hispanic. Village officials deny the charge.
The suit alleges that despite most of the homes receiving only minor damage in the flood, the village is requiring expensive improvements, or forcing residents out of their homes.
City Manager Jon Sfondilis has said all the homes cited suffered damages costing more than 50 percent of their value to repair, which triggers federal requirements that they be lifted 1 foot above the floodway elevation.
A temporary restraining order would bar the village from enforcing its code -- essentially preventing the removal of residents -- while the lawsuit is pending.
The village did win rulings Monday to have four of the Fox Point homes demolished within 30 days because they are uninhabitable. All but one of the homes is vacant, said Mark Janeck, the village's director of community development. Most of the homeowners whose homes received the demolition rulings did not attend Monday's hearing.
Sfondilis had said earlier that owners of the seven homes the village has declared uninhabitable had given up the fight and agreed to leave their homes.
Village staff members indicated Monday that the landowner should pay demolition fees if the owners of the homes do not. Larry Fischer, representing property owners Alpine Village, disputed that.
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