May 13, 2008
By Patrick Butler – Pioneer Press Local Web Site
The River Forest Village Board on Monday voted unanimously to support legislation sponsored by state Sen. Don Harmon (D-39th) exempting residential buildings from “the more onerous” provisions of the state elevator safety code, provided public safety would not be compromised.
Harmon’s measure would give every other community in the state the same exemption Chicago already enjoys, the resolution’s supporters pointed out.
On the books since 2003, the regulations would require major elevator cab, door and communications system upgrades by next year, with more extensive improvements in the elevators’ hydraulic systems by 2011, a number of condo and apartment building owners complained at a public hearing last month.
Resident Barbara Langer said it would cost about $83,000 for her condo building to put in an elevator that meets state requirements. Resident Al Popowits said it would cost $130,000 to fix the two elevators in his 30-unit building even though they “work just fine.”
Harmon’s bill could come up for a vote in the Legislature as early as this week, according to Village Trustee Russ Nummer.
Trustees on Monday also adopted a new building code, without earlier provisions that would have required radio amplifiers be installed in all multi-unit buildings so emergency personnel can communicate better. They also left out a provision that smoke detector systems in buildings of three or more units be directly connected to the West Suburban Dispatch Center.
Still included in the new building regulations is a requirement that sprinkler systems be installed in renovated areas amounting to half or more of a home or apartment’s total floor area.