FRANKLIN GROVE — The Franklin Grove Police Department is considering using the enforcement powers of the Nuisance Property Ordinance it adopted in mid-2012 to take a bite out of crime stemming from numerous and constant calls to particular addresses.
The ordinance is designed to place a certain level of responsibility upon landowners for the conduct of the people who reside there. That responsibility may be for the actions of either the landowner or the people allowed to reside there including paying tenants.
The ordinance, modeled after ordinances used in other communities, in this case, Dixon, provides an additional enforcement tool to deal with situations where the police are constantly being called to a particular site due to complaints of criminal or unlawful activities.
Police departments have a burden to document calls to sites to determine if a threshold of “nuisance” has been reached. When that threshold has been reached, landowners are obliged to take whatever lawful means are necessary to abate the situation causing the nuisance, or face the possibility of losing the use of their property and potentially the property itself.
Many cities, towns and villages are faced with similar issues they must deal with though the regulatory process. They use what is working elsewhere. Because they do not want to reinvent the wheel, they find someone else who has already dealt with a similar issue and borrow ordinance content from the sample ordinance. They tweak it to fit their particular community and save taxpayers thousand of dollars in duplicate administrative and legal fees.
In most cases, ordinances are not copyrighted, nor are the Illinois Compiled Statutes which set the standards and limitations counties and municipalities must follow in adopting their codes and ordinances. Both are part of the public domain, they are available for other governing bodies to use as examples.
When Franklin Grove adopted their Zoning Code in 1967, they borrowed much of the content from an existing code in Byron. When they updated their Zoning Code, they again referred to the updated Byron Code. When they wanted to adopt a subdivision code to deal with potential development, they borrowed significant content from the growing community of Sleepy Hollow. When Ashton revised their Village Code several years ago, they took a great deal of the content from the Rochelle Code.
In most instances local officials ask that their attorney’s to draft ordinances or at least to review them before they are passed to assure they pass legal muster.