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Addison bans some air conditioning units

June 13, 2008 5:02:08 PM PDT
A new ban has turned into a heated issue in west suburban Addison. Village officials have ordered residents to remove window air conditioning units that face the street or are mounted on side windows for aesthetic reasons.

Air conditioning units appearing in windows are universal signs of summer, and it's no different in the Village of Addison.

" It's too hot. I need the air conditioning," said village resident Nelly Arceta.

Arceta put her family's only window unit in her son Christopher's bedroom, but now, it can't stay there. The window faces the street, and the new ordinance in Addison makes it illegal to mount air conditioning in windows that face a street or in windows that are just feet away from a street-facing wall.

"There are such inconsistencies in the way people put their window air conditioning units in," said Addison Mayor Larry Hartwig.

Hartwig said the new ordinance is about aesthetics, and it targets the units that look shabby and are anchored down with plywood or cardboard.

A window unit helps keep Addison resident Diane Barrientos' family keep cool, since the central air conditioning system is broken.

"I can't afford to fix it or even have somebody come out and look at it just now. We have the window units. My daughter has asthma. We put it in," said Barrientos.

Mayor Hartwig said the village was willing to discuss any hardships the ordinance created. He also said an acceptable alternative was wall-mounted air conditioning. However, cutting a hole in a wall and fitting a unit with a sleeve can cost several hundred dollars. So, the village said it was willing to be lenient with homeowners and landlords, especially, who may have a hard time footing the bill of retrofitting their apartments.

"They will have to come in and ask for that extra time and give us the specifics, 'Here's what I need,' and 'Here's how I'm going to do it,'" Hartwig said.

Anyone in violation of the ordinance will get a warning this summer. Next summer, violators could face a fine of up to $500.


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