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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Once Again, Court Upholds Chicago's Weed Ordinance

Mr. Shachter really likes his weeds (the lawn type).  The City of Chicago, on the other hand, does not. For more than 5 years the two have battled each other over the "natural plantings" a/k/a weeds in Mr. Schacter's yard.  

We previously reported on Mr. Shachter's initial challenge to the City's weed ordinance based on constitutional grounds. He had filed a constitutional challenge to that ordinance after he was cited, and found to have violated, the ordinance. In 2011, the appellate court upheld both the weed ordinance and the City’s administrative proceedings in Shachter v. City of Chicago (part 1).  He tried again in 2014, and again the appellate court upheld the City's citations against him.  Shachter v. City of Chicago (part 2)

That wasn't the end of his fight against the City.  After being cited again for violations of the City's weed ordinance, he again appealed to the court. This time, he argued that the City did not have the authority to impose fines greater than $750. He also argued that his plantings were "natural plantings" and not weeds under the definition in the City's weed ordinance. Once again, the appellate court upheld the City's decision finding Mr. Shachter in violation of the City's weed ordinance. Shachter v. City of Chicago (part 2).

First, the appellate court rejected Shachter's argument that the City's administrative adjudication proceeding violated his due process rights. The court held that the formal rules of evidence do not apply in administrative proceedings to enforce ordinance violations, and that Shachter had adequate opportunity to defend against the citation.

Second, the appellate court rejected Shachter's claim that the City was preempted from imposing fines greater than $750 by the Illinois Municipal Code. The court held that the City, as a home rule municipality, was not limited by the fine provisions of state statute.

You can't blame a guy for trying, but after three unsuccessful challenges to the City's weed ordinance, Mr. Shachter may just have to mow his lawn.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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