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Concern From Real Estate Leaders Kills Vacant Property Registry

St. Charles City Council members said they don't support a proposal to require owners of commercial properties to have properties inspected.

A proposal to create a registry for vacant commercial properties in St. Charles will likely be dropped from consideration.

Bruce Evans, director of community development for the city, originally asked the city council to consider creating a registry for vacant commercial and residential homes in an effort to get a handle on problem properties that aren't maintained. 

The city council said it wasn't interested in requiring owners of vacant residential properties to register homes, but agreed to consider the commercial property registry until several local real estate leaders spoke out against the plan. 

Owners would have been required to register a vacant property and it would under go an inspection annually to ensure it didn't pose a hazard. 

Keith Schneider, senior vice president of Cassidy Turley, said the city of St. Charles has a positive reputation but it could be quickly ruined if the city were to adopt overly burdensome requirements. 

"It's, to me, overly burdensome," Schneider said. "I think the city has ordinances in place that provide the necessary leverage to after properties that need to be addressed." 

Councilman Mike Klinghammer, Ward-8, said he didn't see any need to move forward with a registry. 

Councilwoman Mary Ann Ohms, Ward-1, said there are some very dilapidated privately-owned homes in the area and the bill was designed to address that concern. Without a residential component, Ohms said she didn't see the need for the bill. 

Councilwoman Bridget Ohmes, Ward-10 said she'd like the city to be business-friendly. 

The bill was scheduled to be up for final passage Dec. 18, but sponsor Councilwoman Laurie Feldman, Ward-3, is expected to withdraw the bill. 

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