City Council Update

Advocacy News,

The following ordinances that may be of interest to CAA members were introduced in the Chicago City Council on June 17, 2015.  CAA Legislative Committee and staff are in the process of reviewing the measures.  

Refuse Removal (Alderman O'Shea) -- Budget & Government Operations
This ordinance amends Chapter 7-28-240 of the Municipal Code to completely remove the exemption for multi-family buildings of 5 or more units where the units are individually heated.  This exemption applied to rental buildings that had city refuse collection on July 19, 2000 and has not changed ownership since that time.  It also changes the exemption relating to townhouses to give the Streets & Sanitation Commissioner the ability to refuse city refuse collection if the location of the containers poses a health or safety hazard with notice to the owner and an opportunity to remedy the unsafe location.  Further it changes the bed and breakfast exemption to also give the Commissioner the ability to deny city service if the building produces unreasonable amounts of garbage.  The ordinance takes effect 90 days after passage and publication.

CAA supported Mayor Daley’s ordinance to eliminate the exemption that existed for multi-family buildings with 5 or more units, which had individually heated units.  The exemption dated back to the early part of the century.  The final ordinance that passed on June 28, 2000 ended up including a requirement that the exemption would only apply to individually heated buildings that had city service on July 19, 2000 and such service would only continue until the building transferred.  This ordinance would completely eliminate this exemption and require all multi-family building owners of 5 or more units to have refuse collection service at their expense. 

Single Room Occupancy Preservation (Alderman Burnett) -- Housing & Real Estate
This ordinance adds a new Section 5-15-110 to the Municipal Code to permit the Commissioner of Planning & Development to promulgate rules under the single room occupancy preservation ordinance.  The ordinance takes effect upon passage and approval.

This ordinance just gives the Planning & Development Commissioner the ability to issue rules.  This was likely an oversight in the passage of the original ordinance. 

MeterSave Program (Mayor Emanuel) -- Budget & Government Operations
This ordinance amends various provisions of the Municipal Code relating to water supply and services, public and building sewers and drains and extension of the Voluntary Water Meter Installation Pilot Program.  Specifically, this ordinance would remove the provision requiring money advanced by a person desiring a water main extension to be repaid, without interest in five equal annual installments.  The code presently requires water meters to be installed on all service pipes to new buildings and any new services to existing buildings.  The ordinance would require these water meters to be installed at the time the building is connected to the city’s water system.  It eliminates the provision requiring all work installing meter vaults or boxes to be done under the direction of the Commissioner.  It adds a provision requiring the building owner or consumer to incur the cost of all meters or detecting devices, including vaults, installed on a pipeline greater than one inch in diameter or any pipeline used for combination water services.  It eliminates the additional charges for street sprinklers and air conditioning based on horse power.  It eliminates the rate per 100 gallons charged for temporary use of water from a hydrant and replaces it with a flat daily rate of $83.78, which must be paid in advance.  When the Commissioner determines the anticipated use will exceed 1,000 cubic feet a day or continue for an extended period, he may evaluate the quantity of water and assess the appropriate charge.  It repeals the existing provision relating to care of sewers, sewer structures and drains in its entirety and provides new language.  It requires the city to repair the public sewer and the property owner to repair the building drain.  In residential buildings of more than 4 units and all non-residential buildings, the property owner is also responsible for repairs to the building sewer.  A building sewer is that part of the drainage system that extends from the end of the building drain and conveys the discharge to a public sewer, private sewer, individual sewage disposal system or other point of disposal.  In residential buildings with 4 or fewer units, department shall be responsible for repairs to the part of the building sewer located on public property and the property owner is responsible for repairs to the building sewer on private property.  It also adds conditions by which such owners may be required to pay for repairs to all parts of the building sewer, which did not exist in the prior code.  The ordinance requires the property owner to bear the cost of installing any new or relocated sewer connection to the public sewer unless it is necessary to avoid a utility conflict. It authorizes the Commissioner to establish rules governing the method and specifications for piercing and opening sewers or drains, when any connection is made to any sewer or drain in the City.  It amends the existing permit fee for other pumping operations to specify it to be the higher of $100 or a charge based on the per gallon discharge volume as determined both by the current city sewer service charge and the water service rate.  Currently this permit fee is based on $100 or per gallon discharge as determined solely by the current sewer service charge.  It also adds a permit fee for sewer-related or building drain-related work applied for under this Chapter with no associated permit fee.  It authorizes the Building Commissioner to assess a permit fee based on the city’s reasonable costs of issuing and administering the permit.  The provision regarding inspections during non-regular working hours is being changed from $50 per hour to an amount determined pursuant to relevant provisions of the applicable collective bargaining agreement.  It amends the definition of backwater valve to include a device that prevents drainage or waste from combining with storm water flows.  It also clarifies definitions of building drain, public sewer and unstable ground.  The ordinance amends the code to require a 10 foot lateral separation between a water supply system (water main, water pipe, water service line, or public water main) and a sewer structure.  Current code requires 72 inch (6-foot) separation.  It provides some exceptions to the 10 foot lateral separation, including when: 1) local conditions prevent a separation; 2) water supply system invert is at least 18 inches above the sewer structure crown, and 3) water supply system is in a separate trench or in the same trench on an undisturbed earth shelf located to one side of the sewer structure.  Vertical separations are being added to require a water supply system be laid so its invert is 18 inches above or below the sewer structure crown whenever it crosses a sewer structure.  This vertical separation must be maintained for that portion of the water supply system located laterally within 10 feet of the sewer structure.  It further requires the length of the water supply system pipe to be centered over the sewer structure and crossed with joints equidistant from the sewer structure.  It provides that if lateral or vertical separations are not achievable or the water supply system passes under a sewer structure, both the water supply system and the sewer structure shall be constructed of cast-iron pipe hub and spigot, ductile iron pipe or copper or copper-alloy tubing.  The Commissioner may accept alternate proposals when extreme topographical, geological or existing structural conditions make it impossible to achieve the required separations if he determines it is water tight construction.  It requires water supply systems to be at least 25 feet laterally from septic tanks, disposal fields and seepage beds.  Water supply systems must also be protected against entrance of hydrocarbons through diffusion from any material used to construct the line.  It eliminates the provision that allows a water supply service to be laid on a solid earthen shelf not less than one foot from a trench when permanent pavement exists.  Further the ordinance prohibits persons, other than an employee, agent or contractor of Water Management from operating any line or valve in a water main.  If service termination is not authorized, the department may require the building owner to repair the defective termination or terminate any new water service to the building at the owner’s expense.  The ordinance grants the Commissioner the ability to allow a sewer connection to serve multiple buildings.  It eliminates the prohibition on use of PVC for underground building sanitary drainage, vent and building sewer pipe.  Use of high density polyethylene is limited to non-conveyance storm water Best Management Practices applications.    It allows use of PVC for subsurface soil drainage and prohibits corrugated pipe.  The ordinance requires approval after an inspection before an existing underground building sewer may be reused.   It allows grease interceptors, separators and catch basins inside a building to be constructed of fiberglass or high-density polyethylene and eliminates the requirement that they retain not less than 90% of the grease received.  Grease catch basins located outside a building may also be made of heavy cast iron, approved fiberglass or high-density polyethylene in addition to existing materials permitted.  It requires installers of volatile waste separators to do so in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.  Basins within buildings may also be constructed of approved fiberglass and high-density polyethylene in addition to other existing materials.  Owners are required to keep a written record of all maintenance of the interceptor or separator for the life of the unit or for 5 years, whichever is longer.  These records must be made available for inspection by Water Management or Buildings and must be transmitted to these departments upon request.  Violations of the water service and plumbing requirements shall result in a fine of $100 to $1,000 for each offense.  The ordinance also prohibits a person from destroying or permanently abandoning any building or structure that has a sewer facility without first obtaining a permit and giving written notice to the Commissioner and sealing or abandoning the sewer.  The notice must include a diagram of the sewer, estimated cost of sealing or abandoning the sewer, posting of a surety bond to ensure payment of all costs and a copy of the permit application.  An expeditor, person in charge of wrecking the building or person in charge of sealing or abandoning the sewer must submit the notice.  A building owner may submit, if approved in advance.  If the sewer is not sealed or abandoned in accordance with department policy, the Commissioner may repair the defect at the owner’s expense, require the owner to make the repair or terminate new service to the building at the owner’s expense.  The ordinance takes effect 10 days after passage and publication.  A hearing has not been scheduled yet.

Overall these changes to the water supply and sewer provisions do not appear that they will have a significant impact on multi-family buildings.  There are some allowances for less expensive materials and some changes to the installation of water supply lines and sewer structures.  Some permits are being revised, but recalculations under the proposed structure follow closely with existing permit fees.  There are some changes pertaining to permit process and notice requirements, as well as more clearly stated obligations regarding these lines.  

Appointment - Buildings (Mayor Emanuel) -- Zoning, Landmarks & Building Standards
Appointment of Judy Frydland as Commissioner of the Department of Buildings to succeed Felicia Davis.  She is expected to be confirmed by the full City Council July 29.  No hearing has been scheduled yet.

This information is provided by CAA’s local government contract lobbyist: 
Mary Kay Minaghan 
MKM Services