Citizens express dissatisfaction at city council meeting

West Chicago community members spoke out regarding the Bovey greenhouse and recent Main Park Apartments fire at the city council meeting on Dec. 4.
The City Council of West Chicago meets twice a month and the meeting is open to the public.
The City Council of West Chicago meets twice a month and the meeting is open to the public.
Photo by Sasha Baumgartner

On Dec. 4, residents of West Chicago expressed their feelings on the recent lawsuit regarding the Bovey greenhouse, as well as the fire at Main Park Apartments, at the regularly scheduled West Chicago City Council meeting.

Dan and Jody Bovey of West Chicago are in the process of trying to repeal a lawsuit in which they were fined $20,000 for a greenhouse dome they have built in their backyard.

According to the Boveys, the family obtained a permit before constructing the structure; they say they have tried to renew the permit in recent months, but their request continues to be denied.

Recently, the City of West Chicago published a report addressing the greenhouse and what officials describe as changes from the original permit plans.

“This past year has been unimaginable for my family. When we are asked why city staff would go to such lengths to oppose my family, a family that has lived and contributed to our community for more than 20 years, it has been beyond our ability to explain,” Jody Bovey said during the public comment forum at the city council meeting on Dec. 4.

The fight to save the greenhouse has expanded well beyond the Bovey family, and there were numerous community members at the city council meeting who desired to speak on the Boveys’ behalf, or demonstrate support for the family’s cause.

“When I heard what was happening regarding their greenhouse, that they had gotten a permit and passed multiple inspections, then were suddenly encountering multiple roadblocks from the city that appeared to intentionally delay their progress in order to prevent them from finishing their work, I thought to myself, ‘how can I help?'” community member Christine Whiteman said.

Some community members suggested that the City of West Chicago is focusing its efforts on the Boveys’ greenhouse and not the recent apartment fire that has displaced 100 people.

“I feel so affected by what is going on. I cannot believe that we are wasting so much time on this greenhouse that is not bothering anybody. If anything, it is a good thing. It is teaching others, I mean think about it, what do we teach our kids? Go green. Those people at the apartments, I mean, I was in awe. I can’t believe it,” community member Emerita Garcia said.

Residents attending the meeting in support of the greenhouse were encouraged to wear green. (Photo by Sasha Baumgartner)

Neither the greenhouse lawsuit, nor the apartment fire, was on the council meeting agenda for the evening; however, Mayor Ruben Pineda addressed the apartment fire at the end of the meeting during the mayor’s comments section.

“In regards to the apartment fire, I can’t be prouder of, in less than of twelve hours, we had a team meeting with our State Senator, State Legislator, our State Representative, all the county board of reps, all the people that are responsible for emergency issues in DuPage County. We had forty-two people on that Zoom meeting,” Pineda said.

Pineda also referred to recent legislation proposed in West Chicago centered around smoke detectors: as of last January, state law requires all buildings, including homes and apartment units, to have 10-year lithium battery in smoke detectors.

“I want to make it a little stricter in West Chicago that battery-powered smoke detectors need to be in every living space: in every apartment and every unit in all these properties. Right now, any new building in West Chicago – and this has been going on for years – if you build new in West Chicago, you will have a sprinkler system in your building. I have told everybody, and I am in the business, that if there was going to be another house that I was going to build brand-new, my house would be fully sprinklered because I would rather have water damage than fire damage and smoke damage. It does save lives,” Pineda said.

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