Got to last night's city council meeting about 8:40 so mist the citizen comments section of the meeting. According to Councilman Joel Fritzler, most all of the comments were from local landlords protesting the proposed text amendment requiring the movement of 21 mobile homes from areas where they were not in compliance with the local zoning, with local resident D. Gorton the only person speaking in favor of the amendment.
Fritzler was in the middle of a somewhat lengthy statement when I arrived, discussing how he has visited the locations of all 21 homes and how some were in very good condition and some in poor and how maybe we ought to look at the specifics of each location rather than lumping them all together. He also pointed out that when the council last visited the topic, there were 17 homes in non-compliance and 10 of them were no longer there. This means we've found 14 more not in compliance that were overlooked 5 years ago.
Councilman Haynes also spoke on the amendment, mainly in generalities about how the council needed to look at both sides of the matter.
The mayor then asked if anyone on council wished to offer an motion. After some dithering by council members, Lance Jack offered one specifying the removal of the units within 48 months with a payment of $1000 by the city to the owner of homes moved by Jan. 2011. The motion died for lack of a second. Chris Wissmann then commented he could have supported Jack's motion, if the payment date had been 6 months earlier, June 2010, which got me wondering why he didn't second the motion then move to amend.
Mayor Cole then called the city's lawyer to the podium for some questioning. No, under the law this is not considered a taking of property. Yes, Illinois courts have held that cities are within the law in enacting and enforcing ordinances such as this. I did notice several times the mayor employed the questioning technique of, after someone has answered a question, just sitting there and staring at them, saying nothing. Invariably, the questionee will feel compelled to add onto or expand on their answer and the city's lawyer did that several times.
Finally, when no council member would move anything so they could tack action, Mayor Cole, with council's agreement, sent the amendment back to city staff, with the directive to add more specifics to it, including whether there should be an extended cutoff date by which the mobile homes had to be moved and whether some sort of compensation should be paid by the city to the owners. Cole then closed the meeting at 9:14.