Oak Park Association concerned about changes to River Forest historic preservation ordinance

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The Oak Park Area Association of REALTORS® weighed in on a proposal to amend a historic preservation ordinance in the Village of River Forest.

The current historic preservation program identifies nearly 300 properties as “historically or architecturally significant.”  The proposed changes involve those properties by:

  • Requiring owners of significant properties to discuss the proposed demolition before the village’s Historic Preservation Commission, allow comment and suggest alternatives to tearing down the home.
  • Requiring homeowners seeking a demolition permit for a significant property to wait up to 180 days for the permit for a demolition.

Oak Park Association of REALTORS logoLast September, the association expressed concerns about a delay being too long; the initial proposal called for a nine-month delay. The holding costs of a new owner/builder could add up significantly with an unduly long delay period. Also, the association sought clarity on the length of this village-imposed delay so prospective buyers would have certainty in knowing the process.

At a public meeting Feb. 22, the River Forest Board of Trustees grappled with these issues, heard from homeowners and debated the proposal. The REALTORS®’ concerns were noted and generally agreed with. Mike Scobey of IAR staff stated at the hearing that the proposed delay should not become “a de facto prohibition on demolitions.”

Revisions to the proposal are expected and a vote by the village board could take place on March 14.

RASI donates playground grant to East St. Louis center

RASI three

RASI board members presented a $2,200 check to the Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation to help build a playground.

The REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois (RASI) was recently awarded a My REALTOR® Party Placemaking grant from the National Association of REALTORS® to assist in the development of a playground for the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center in East St. Louis, IL.

The playground is part of a center expansion that includes the construction of eight classrooms and a playground that is open to all children and families.  RASI was the first association to make a donation to the park that the JJK Center board hopes to have installed by the beginning of next school year.

My REALTOR® Party Grant Coordinator Jim Clayton assisted in the grant development along with Local GAD Kyle Anderson.

The check was presented to the JJK Center by RASI President Doug Payne along with Account Executive Deb Frazier and RASI Board members.

Three Rivers members partner with Joliet and community organizations to promote home ownership

Karen Robertson, TRAR immediate past president, thanked Alfredo Melesio, Joliet’s director of neighborhood services, for explaining the city’s down payment assistance program.

The Three Rivers Association of REALTORS® (TRAR) hosted a luncheon Feb. 11 for members to learn more about the City of Joliet’s down payment assistance program and an April 9 Housing Expo for renters and commuters in the Joliet area.

Alfredo Melesio, Joliet’s director of neighborhood services, introduced the program and explained some of the ways they plan to reach out to potential home  buyers. He then introduced Marla Youngblood and Patricia Venziano from the Will County Center for Community Concerns, the not-for-profit organization managing the down payment assistance program.

Youngblood and Venziano provided an overview of qualifications, available funding and the criteria that must be met for transactions. Local Government Affairs Director Gideon Blustein discussed the housing expo and the city-wide open house that will target Joliet renters and workers who commute into Joliet. TRAR members were enthusiastic to introduce the down payment assistance program to their clients and excited to help make the housing expo a great success.

City Council says no to Joliet property transfer tax increase

REALTOR® Donna Billings addresses the Joliet City Council while REALTOR® Mark Meers listens behind her.

REALTOR® Donna Billings addresses the Joliet City Council while REALTOR® Mark Meers listens behind her.

Joliet/Will County REALTORS® accomplished a victory for the local economy Tuesday night as the Joliet City Council unanimously voted down an effort to increase the city’s real estate transfer tax by 66 percent.

A real estate transfer tax increase from $3 per $1,000 value to $5 per $1,000 was one of several ideas proposed to generate revenue in the city’s 2016 budget.  A REALTOR® Call for Action against the idea and testimony from IAR local Government Affairs Director Gideon Blustein at a special city council meeting last week led some to believe the city manager would remove the item from the budget. However, late in the week, the Council decided to move ahead with a public hearing and vote to send the increase to referendum.

Gideon Blustein

REALTORS® rallied to the cause, filling the council chambers and providing personal testimony. Blustein framed the increase as a measure that would have unintended consequences for Joliet’s fragile housing recovery, such as giving neighboring communities without real estate transfer taxes a greater competitive advantage. REALTOR® testimony illustrated how the economic costs would outweigh the projected $1.1 million in City revenues.

When the resolution was called for a vote, there was a tense silence before Councilman Jim McFarland offered a motion to deny the increase. The motion to deny was seconded and quickly passed with unanimous support from the council.

This victory for Joliet’s housing market illustrates the power we have when we rally together to protect private property rights. It truly demonstrates the #PowerofR.

CAR assists with holiday toy and outerwear drive

Through Friday (Dec. 4), the Chicago Association of REALTORS (CAR) and its members are providing four drop-off locations for donations to the Advocates for Adolescent Mothers’ Holiday Toy and Outerwear Drive, benefitting Chicago’s homeless adolescent mothers and their children.

realtors_give_back_xmas_BLOGCAR is collecting new unwrapped toys for children 12 and under, although no stuffed animals will be accepted, for the nonprofit organization named Advocates for Adolescent Mothers. New or gently-used coats, scarves, hats and gloves are also being accepted at these locations:

  • CAR offices, 200 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 400;
  • Su Familia Real Estate, (attention Gaspar Flores, Jr.), 5417 S. Pulaski Road;
  • Midwest Lending Corporation (attention Coby Hakalir), 1732 W. Hubbard St., Second Floor; and
  • Inez Drayton, 7752 S. Greenwood Ave.

Advocates for Adolescent Mothers was founded in Chicago by Lillian Harris five years ago to help fight poverty, prevent child abuse, advocate against homelessness and support college education for young mothers. The organization is dedicated to giving young parents the tools, resources and support to prosper.

CAR logo 2015CAR Chief Executive Officer Ginger Downs and CAR Senior Executive Assistant Jay Turner will deliver donations to Advocates for Adolescent Mothers on Dec. 4.

(This blog post is one in a series of blog posts about charitable community work performed by local Illinois REALTORS® during the last six weeks of the year. To see all the stories in the series, search for “charitable giving.”)