McIlvaine, St. Charles on collision course next week

  • Cliff McIlvaine

    Cliff McIlvaine

  • The St. Charles home of Cliff McIlvaine, as it appeared two weeks ago.

      The St. Charles home of Cliff McIlvaine, as it appeared two weeks ago. Chris Hankins | Staff Photographer

Updated 9/20/2012 5:39 PM

After nearly two years of litigation, two weeks in jail and a host of inspections, the city of St. Charles is on a collision course with a man who the city says has had a construction project languishing at his home since the 1970s.

Cliff McIlvaine briefly appeared in Kane County court Thursday to report on his progress for following an order to complete work on his home and connect to the city water supply.


The city sued him in November 2010 in an effort to get him to finish a construction project on his home in the 600 block of Prairie Street that he was granted a permit for in 1975.

Phil Luetkehans, attorney for the city, said if no additional progress is made by next week, the city will ask Judge Robert Mueller to set a hearing during which the city will ask to demolish McIlvaine's home or to give the city authority to make repairs on its own and send McIlvaine the bill.

"Make no doubt about it, we will proceed," he said.

According to court papers filed last week, the city argues McIlvaine's home doesn't meet code and is a public safety hazard.

Luetkehans said the city inspectors visited McIlvaine's home this week and a concluded he was moving forward on connecting to the city water supply.

"The city is cautiously optimistic that we saw what we were hoping to see," he said.

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The city and McIlvaine signed an agreement last fall to have McIlvaine complete the project, connect to the city water supply and only use a pre-existing cistern at McIlvaine's home for laundry and flushing toilets.

Earlier this year, McIlvaine was found in contempt of court for falling behind on numerous deadlines and refusing to connect to the city water supply. After McIlvaine said he wanted to install a purification system instead, Mueller ordered him jailed, but released him after two weeks,

Outside of court, McIlvaine said the city has a "vendetta" against him and that his use of the cistern should be grandfathered in under city laws. He said he was fighting to protect other homeowners from retroactive requirements from the city, and the city was using him as a "test case" to punish other homeowners who have cisterns.

"I'm not fighting for me. I'm fighting for everyone in St. Charles," he said.

Luetkehans said the city does not know of any other residential property that has a cistern.

"This is not a test case. This (litigation) occurred because he took 36 years to finish his addition," he said.

McIlvaine is again due in court Sept. 27.

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