At various times during the past 15 years, a Chicago Ridge property owner has stood in front of the Chicago Ridge board of trustees after being cited for code and ordinance violations on his land at 10014 Andersen Avenue in the village’s industrial park.
Time and again, the Roches have vowed to clean up the site and fall in line with village code. Former Chicago Ridge Mayor Gene Siegel often talked tough about what would happen if Roche failed to comply with the village’s demands – the mayor would threaten to fine him into submission and revoke Roche’s business license – but in the end the landlord who rents space on his site to various entities would be allowed to persevere.
“The mayor in the past tried to deal with the property owner and give him the benefit of the doubt, and now the board members are getting a little frustrated,” said Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar, who succeeded Siegel upon being sworn in last month. “There are six independently-minded board members and some of the older board members are more frustrated with this issue than the newer members.”
Trustees John Lind, Dan Badon, Michael Davies and Bruce Quintos at the Village Board’s meeting June 11 stated their opposition to renewing Roche’s business licenses until the property is cleaned up; however, the board voted 4-2 to grant him a two-week reprieve. Trustees will decide at the board’s next meeting scheduled for June 25 whether to renew the license.
“I’ve been on the board now for 16 years and at least 14 years we’ve been dealing with Mr. Roche and trying to clean up that property,” said Trustee Dan Badon. “We’ve given him ample time, extension after extension after extension. I’ve listened to Mr. Roche’s promises all these years and they are unfulfilled promises. I’m going to dig my heels in here and say I want it cleaned up before anybody is issues a license.”
Trustee Sally Durkin, who was elected April 9, made the motion to grant Roche the two-week allowance to review the violations for which the village has cited him and get his ship in order. Another new trustee, Amanda Cardin, seconded the motion.
Mike Roche Jr. told the board that he is making good on his father’s promise to clean up the property, and that he has spent months addressing the issues.
“Give me until the next meeting to see what I need to complete,” Roche Jr. pleaded. “I can’t say I’ll get it all done but I can put a big dent in the list. I’ve been over there every day for the past two or three months and I hate to say it but I’ve done a lot of work over the last two months and it’s a lot better than it was a few months ago.”
The Roche property hosts numerous businesses including Resource Management, 9999 Andersen Ave., one of the largest recycling plants in the United States. Another tenant, CMD Conveyor, 10008 Andersen Ave., is tasked with repairing and replacing conveyor belts for Resource Management.
“Just give me six months to be out of there … I am sick of it myself,” said CMD Conveyor owner Casey Czochara. “I don’t think people know that we are the largest recycling plant in the U.S. I am asking for six months and you don’t have to deal with me, you can deal with Roche.”
Chicago Ridge Building Commissioner Rich Sumner has compiled a list of 15 code violations including trailers and storage units parked intermittently on the property, unused and inoperable machinery lying around the property, “unsightly” 55 gallon containers, an unsafe structure on the north end of the site, and “eyesores.”
The transgressions violate Chicago Ridge village code, International Property Maintenance Code and International Fire Code, Tokar said.
“Our fire department doesn’t know what’s in any of those locked containers,” Tokar said. “They need to know not only what’s in them, they need to know who owns them in case of an emergency and they can contact somebody. “
The majority of violations inside the building on Roche’s property have been addressed, Tokar said.
“Your business is there to pay for last year’s business license, and you didn’t pay for this year’s business license because the board would not accept your business license fee,” Tokar told Roche Jr. “Those fees need to be paid for and there will have to be a certain time limit to complete the 15 items on this list.”