CHICAGO (CBS) — A Calumet City couple said they complained for at least five years about a muddy problem in their alley, without help from the city. Suddenly, public works crews showed up less than an hour after CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory marched in with questions.
Rancid mud has piled up every time it rains in Kent Hill and Mary Stevenson’s back alley since 2014, and cleaning up has been a nasty and time-consuming chore.
It’s not just the foul stench that stinks. They were slapped with a $50 penalty; a citation for “garage overhead door in disrepair.”
The bottom edge of their garage door has rotted and deteriorated due to all the mud that piles up in the alley when rains.
“I really think it’s unfair, and they won’t do anything to help us,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson and Hill said the 3-year-old garage door is dilapidated only because of the mud that piles up in their area of the alley
Even on a bright sunny day last week, their section of the alley was filled with foul-smelling puddles, while just a few blocks down the alley was bone dry.
“I bet the $50 that they fined me; you won’t find another alley that looks like this,” she said.
CBS 2 showed photos showing the contrast of the different sections of the alley. Deputy Commissioner Edward Evans wasn’t happy to see cameras at first, but eventually took the information and thanked CBS 2.
Less than a half hour later, a bulldozer smoothed over the problematic puddles in no time, despite years of complaining having previously gone ignored.
But city officials rained on the parade. Building Commissioner Nick Manousopoulos said the door in disrepair citation came alongside four other violations related to zoning.
“They’re upset they cannot run their business out of the garage, and apparently the alley became an issue now,” he said.
The city alleges the couple is operating an illegal body shop out of their garage, The couple denies that charge and says the own the cars and are refurbishing them.
The city has cited them for:
-Operating a business not allowed by zoning.
-Parking a vehicle in unapproved areas.
-Keeping vehicles in disrepair, including more than one that is unlicensed.
-Unlawfully using an empty lot as used car lot or parking lot.
Manousopoulos said he ticketed them after complaints from neighbors.
Asked what that had to do with the muddy problem in that area of the alley when other parts were dry, Manousopoulos said, “I have no idea.”
“When we wrote the issues, the citations, they were in court, They argued more about the alley than regarding the actual issues why they were in court,” he said.
Hill and Stevenson are appealing all of the citations issued against them and are upset that the garage door disrepair violation got tacked on to the other issues.