Senate president calls for Illinois fire marshal to withdraw statewide sprinkler proposal

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton

Add Illinois Senate President John Cullerton to the growing list of opponents to a proposal by Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis to mandate costly fire sprinkler systems in all new residential construction in Illinois as well as the retrofitting of existing high-rise buildings and other structures.

In a sharply-worded letter, Cullerton urged Matkaitis to withdraw his proposal pending before the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), according to reports in The Illinois Observer.
Calling the proposal “unnecessary, unreasonable and it represents an inappropriate extension of the rulemaking authority granted to you under the Fire Investigation Act,” Cullerton said that if the proposal isn’t withdrawn he will intercede and ask legislators serving on JCAR to reject the rule proposal.

“This sweeping regulation would further burden an already fragile homebuilding industry, and it would have disastrous financial implications for homeowners, condo associations, religious organizations and business throughout the state of Illinois, who will ultimately pay the price for these costly and unnecessary installations,” Cullerton wrote.

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, has also sent a letter, this one to Gov. Pat Quinn, urging him to encourage the Fire Marshal to withdraw the sprinkler proposal as Chicago already some of the toughest fire safety laws and retrofitting high-rise buildings would just force residents to pay catastrophic fees.

Meanwhile tempers flared at two town hall meetings held in Chicago on Wednesday where property owners and residents voiced concerns about the financial burdens a sprinkler mandate would bring.

High-rise residents up in arms over sprinkler proposal – Chicago Sun-Times

Fire Marshal’s Absence Sparks Anger From Condo Owners At Meeting – CBS 2

Tempers Flare at Sprinkler Retrofit Meeting – NBC 5

Highrise sprinkler debate taken up at meeting – WGN-TV

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About Stephanie Sievers

Stephanie Sievers is Senior Editor for the Illinois Association of REALTORS®. She serves as Senior Editor for IAR publications including the Illinois REALTOR® magazine and all other IAR publications. She is responsible for developing content for the Illinois REALTOR® Weekly Connection e-newsletter, coordinates the IAR Twitter account content at ILREALTOR and plans and develops content for videos. She assists in developing and writing content for the IAR blog. She also is involved in researching and drafting news releases and coordinates the news media distribution database and newsclips reports for the Association. She also assists in IAR spokesperson training seminars and is involved in development of association briefing materials on issues. She assists with the housing statistics program and reports.

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