Residential nuisance ordinance requires amendment

Editor’s note: The following is in reference to the City of Rockford’s Chronic Nuisance Ordinance, detailed in the July 16-22 articles “Landlords question wording of nuisance ordinance” and “Rockford Apartment Association, Rockford Area Realtors oppose two ordinance proposals.”

Through FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, I obtained two memorandums written by city attorney Jennifer Cacciapaglia, who gave the opinion that the ordinance was illegal since Rockford is not a home rule city. A non-home rule city must follow state law regarding municipalities as described in the Illinois municipal code (65 ILCS 5/), which I received with the memos.

On page 3 of the ordinance, it is written that it is the opinion of the city’s legal department that sections 17-42 (d) and (e) and 17-43 are unenforceable because, as the memos describe, Rockford is not a home rule city, so the mayor cannot appoint members to a housing board.

Paraphrased from the memos indicated on page 3 of the ordinance:

From the Jan. 14, 2013 memo.

Rockford cannot create a mandatory housing board to which cases of nuisance activity must be referred.

If Rockford Apartment Association and Rockford Area Association of Realtors wish to create a housing board for nuisance activity, they must have Illinois law amended.

The Jan. 28, 2013, memo addresses the “shall” in Section 17-51 of the ordinance.

How much did Rockford spend on the rental property registration software? The cities of Freeport, Orangeville and Monroe combined resources to buy the registration software. The software cost money.

Forrest Snavely
Loves Park, Illinois

From the Aug. 27-Sept. 2, 2014, issue

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