A small but determined group of local condo dwellers learned recently that, while you’re unlikely to beat city hall, it is possible to force a compromise.

Senate Bill 149, which was signed into law July 23 by Governor Pat Quinn, is now Public Act 096-0054. That law amends the Elevator Safety and Regulation Act, removing financially onerous mandates for condominium buildings.

The law resulted from actions taken by the Exempt our Elevators Advisory Group, which traveled to Springfield last year to lobby lawmakers.

“We just weren’t large enough to kill the law,” said River Forest’s Al Popowits, who helped form the group. “We had to accept a political compromise.”

It was enough for now. “They took out the two most expensive items of 20 items,” Popowits said, referring to previously mandated double walled hydraulic cylinders and radio responders designed to boost emergency communication within buildings.

Oak Parker Carol Umlauf said the repair bill for previously required work on her Washington Boulevard condo building dropped from around $116,000 to $8,000 or $9,000. She praised state Sen. Don Harmon, saying he responded to their complaints quickly, and authored the amendment that eventually became law.

Popowits, who pegged his group’s membership at “over 100 members,” said he planned to keep the group intact.

“We need more,” said Popowits. “This organization is going to continue.”

– Bill Dwyer

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