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Some neighbors say McIlvaine’s house isn’t a hazard

GENEVA – Some neighbors of St. Charles resident Clifford McIlvaine testified Thursday that they don’t feel his decadeslong improvement project represents a safety hazard.

Kane County Judge David Akemann is reviewing a petition by the city of St. Charles to demolish or repair the property at 605 Prairie St.

The hearing, which began Wednesday, will continue at 1:30 p.m. today with each side being given the chance to present their arguments.

“This is where you take the facts and apply the facts to the law,” Akemann said to McIlvaine, who is acting as his own attorney.

McIlvaine started the project in 1975.

The city sued McIlvaine in 2010, pushing him to get the project finished.

A work schedule later was agreed upon in court.

City officials want McIlvaine to comply with a court order to finish the project.

The project was supposed to have been completed by the end of September, according to the order.

McIlvaine called his neighbor, Randy Smith, who lives in the 600 block of Sixth Street, to the stand as a witness. Smith said he attended a recent open house on McIlvaine’s property.

“It felt structurally sound to me,” said Smith, while admitting that he doesn’t have a building inspection background.

McIlvaine also asked Jim Webb, president of St. Charles-based Royal Builders, whether he thought the property was unsafe and dangerous. Webb is doing work on the project.

“It is a lot better than what it was, but it is still a construction site,” Webb said.

Phil Luetkehans, an attorney for St. Charles, has said the project remains a safety hazard because of unfinished items, including a roof that’s partially done.

McIlvaine had corrected the plumbing system in his house as ordered by the court and St. Charles officials.

He had been warned that he had to prevent his cistern water system from connecting to the city’s water supply or the city would proceed with an application for demolition or repair of the house.

A cistern is a tank for storing rainwater.

McIlvaine has signed a court order saying he will not use it for bathing or drinking water, and the city wanted to make sure the system does not pollute city water.

He was jailed for two weeks in 2012 after a judge found him in contempt of court.

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