Decades old St. Charles project dealt another setback

Last week, St. Charles officials said they were cautiously optimistic that a homeowner was making progress on completing an addition that started in 1975.

Thursday, it was another delay as city inspectors discovered Cliff McIlvaine had installed a valve in his water piping that would essentially allow him to use water from his home’s cistern for bathing and drinking — which is a condition prohibited in an agreement McIlvaine signed last year.

A judge ordered McIlvaine to remove the valve — which connects McIlvaine’s cistern water and an incoming pipe from the city water supply — by his next court date Wednesday.

“The agreement is clear that (the pipes) would not be interconnected,” said Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for the city after a brief hearing Thursday. “It’s not a hard fix, but it was obvious he was trying to do something he shouldn’t. He was clearly trying to avoid the agreement again and we’re not going to let that happen.”

The city sued McIlvaine in late 2010 in an effort to get him to complete his project. The two sides signed an agreement last year, but McIlvaine claims he signed it under duress. He missed numerous deadlines and was found in contempt of court and recently jailed for two weeks.

“I told them I am not re-piping the house and I am not re-piping the house,” said McIlvaine.

“It’s not over yet. This is going to the Supreme Court. I’ve got a basis for it.”

Luetkehans said other aspects of the project are proceeding, such as electrical and brickwork, but the city is still awaiting word on if McIlvaine has reached an agreement with his contractor on roof work.

If McIlvaine does not remove the valve by next week, Luetkehans said the city will ask Kane County Judge Thomas Mueller to set a hearing date in which the city will argue for a court order to do the repairs on its own and bill McIlvaine or demolish the house.

In court documents, the city has argued that McIlvaine’s home doesn’t meet code and is a hazard to public safety.

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