Pekin Rejects Ballot Question on Home Rule

By Paul Strater
By WEEK reporter

January 17, 2012 Updated Jan 18, 2012 at 1:27 PM CDT

PEKIN, Ill -- Pekin building owner Roger Greer has been fighting city hall over code violations.

He owns a building that he wants to use as a shelter for homeless vets.

But the building is not up to current building codes; it lacks the required fire sprinkler, among other violations.

Tuesday, he was handed another defeat.

The Pekin Municipal Electoral Board unanimously agreed with the Tazewell County clerk: That Greer did not have enough valid signatures on a petition to repeal Pekin's "home rule" status.

Greer feels that this would allow Pekin not to enforce the state's life safety fire codes--which his building violates.

Pekin's Fire Chief said that is not up to the city, home rule status or not.

"We can't waive this due to the fact that this is actually enforced by the state. It's a state regulation, the life safety code, the 2000 life safety code is the minimum standard set forth for by all jurisdictions within the state of Illinois," said Kurt Nelson.

But Greer, whose building was cited for numerous code violations, insisted that that's just not the case.

"They could right now, with a simple city council vote, repeal the 2006 Life Safety Code and 2006 International Building Code and go back to state standards for the life safety code, which is six years prior, 2000. And I believe we meet those 2000 requirements for an existing building," said the former Pekin Mayoral candidate.

Greer said he'll get even more signatures by May, to put the issue on a November ballot.

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