Embattled St. Charles homeowner claims city broke the law

 
 
Updated 10/14/2014 6:14 PM
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  • Cliff McIlvaine, who was sued by the city of St. Charles in an effort to get him to finish a project that he first pulled a permit for in 1975, stands in May 2013 on a landing between his original home to the left and new, super-insulated addition on the right, which he said he planned to turn into a museum for his and his father's inventions, along with city memorabilia.

    Cliff McIlvaine, who was sued by the city of St. Charles in an effort to get him to finish a project that he first pulled a permit for in 1975, stands in May 2013 on a landing between his original home to the left and new, super-insulated addition on the right, which he said he planned to turn into a museum for his and his father's inventions, along with city memorabilia. Daily Herald file photo

A St. Charles homeowner who was first given a permit in 1975 for a home addition, was back in court Tuesday arguing that the city broke the law when it installed a conventional, asphalt shingle roof on his home in summer 2013.

City officials maintained that Clifford McIlvaine had plenty of notice about its intent to replace the roof at the home on the 600 block of Prairie Street and that the city was following a judge's order to correct any dangerous roof conditions as quickly as possible.

Philip Piscopo, an attorney for McIlvaine, argued that if the city was going to take over the project, it needed to complete it using McIlvaine's "super-insulated" design.

Piscopo also argued that his client was denied due process and the city overstepped its authority.

"Mr. McIlvaine's constitutional rights don't go away just because the city announces it's going to violate them," Piscopo said. "This whole problem was Mr. McIlvaine was going too slow. They took his property without just compensation."

The city sued McIlvaine in late 2010 in an effort to inspect his home for code violations.

McIlvaine and the city eventually inked a deal to have him finish his project by September 2012.

But in spring 2012, McIlvaine missed numerous deadlines and refused to connect to the city water supply, which landed him in jail for two weeks for contempt of court.

In May 2013, Judge David Akemann gave the city permission to take over certain parts of the project, such as the roof and installing an exterior staircase.

"St. Charles repaired the property consistent with the court's order, which is to make the property safe and soon and as fast as possible," said Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for the city.

"Mr. McIlvaine had months and months of notice that if he did not finish the project, this is what we were going to do."

In spring 2014, McIlvaine and the city reached another agreement for him to finish the project and build an outdoor storage facility for his construction materials.

Luetkehans said McIlvaine has still not complied with some items on the list, such as removing construction vehicles, but has obtained a permit for the storage facility.

Akemann did not rule Tuesday, taking the matter under advisement.

The two sides are due back in court on Nov. 5.

McIlvaine has sought up to $60,000 in damages from a roof leak as well as reimbursement for fiberglass that was part of his custom, super-insulated roof that was removed when the conventional roof was installed.

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