Full-time crew working to finish 37-year home project

A St. Charles man who has let a home addition project languish since 1975 has come to an agreement with his contractor — which has encouraged city officials who have sued to get the project completed — and now a crew is working full-time.

Clifford McIlvaine is due in court again Nov. 14 and city officials say they still could ask a judge for permission to demolish the home or for the city to do the repairs and bill McIlvaine for it later if work does not move forward.

“That extreme option is definitely there,” said Phil Luetkehans, an attorney representing the city, after a brief court hearing Wednesday. “If this does not progress in a timely manner, that option is still available to us.”

The city sued McIlvaine in late 2010, arguing he had not let the city inspect work at his home in the 600 block of Prairie Street since 1975 when the city first issued him building permits.

The two sides reached an agreement to have McIlvaine complete the addition by September 2012, but McIlvaine missed numerous construction deadlines, was found in contempt of court and spent two weeks in jail after he refused to follow instructions that he connect his home to the city water supply instead of using cistern water.

Luetkehans said Jim Webb of Royal Builders, a construction firm that was contracted to do some of the work, told Judge Thomas Mueller that a compensation agreement between the company and McIlvaine had been worked out.

“(Webb) is putting a full-time crew out there starting today or tomorrow,” Luetkehans said. “Obviously, we wish it was moving faster.”

Luetkehans said the exterior brickwork is about 80 to 90 percent done and the crew will be doing interior electrical work. Webb also plans to get started on a complex roof plan that McIlvaine says won’t be completed until the spring.

City officials have argued that McIlvaine’s home has numerous code violations, is a public safety hazard and a blight on the neighborhood.

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