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Local News

Proposed Yorkville ordinance would grant police enforcement power on private property

Shopping center owners, Raging Waves among firms supportive of measure

Yorkville Police Chief Jim Jensen listens during a June 9 City Council meeting at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road in Yorkville.
Yorkville Police Chief Jim Jensen listens during a June 9 City Council meeting at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road in Yorkville.

YORKVILLE – Yorkville city officials are set to further discuss an ordinance that would grant the city's mayor the ability to enter into an agreement with police for public enforcement of stopping, standing and parking on private commercial properties.

Yorkville Police Chief Jim Jensen said during a Thursday, July 2 city public safety committee meeting the matter was previously discussed at a June 9 City Council meeting and was brought to the Thursday meeting for additional discussion. He also said city officials reached out to multiple business owners and development representatives – including Kendall Marketplace, Kendall Crossing, businesses near the Routes 34 and 47 intersection and Raging Waves – who have expressed high interest in enforcement agreement with city.

Jensen said the agreement would be solely voluntary and not something police would look to force businesses into.

“This does not involve us towing vehicles," Jensen said. "I want nothing to do with towing cars on private property.”

Rather, Jensen said, the agreement would give police ticketing authority on private property if businesses want police to do so. He said the enforcement focuses on stopping or standing parking, including cars idling in fire lanes and people blocking multiple spots.

For example, Jensen said, he saw a very nice car parked sideways and taking up three full parking spots pretty close to the front of the building when he went to Jewel a few weeks ago. It's not like the owner of that car would be guaranteed to get a ticket in that situation, necessarily, but that’s the type of violation he's referring to, he said.

“Most of the time, our officers would pull up and see cars parked in the fire lane – we’ll pull up right next to them and say, ‘Hey, can you just park your car in the parking lot? It’s a fire lane here,’ “ Jensen said. “Ninety-nine percent of the people are great [about respecting the request].”

City officials said during the June 9 meeting there have been several conversations with private property owners and neighboring cities or villages about issues related to policing on private property within the last month or so. The concern of towing on private property and whether police had the authority to do so was discussed during that same meeting.

Olson previously wrote in a June 4 memo those conversations about enforcement on private property more recently included concerns about overnight parking and other loitering-related issues.

Those initial conversations came after area communities – including DeKalb, Sycamore and Aurora – were the sites of peaceful protests, which followed the police-involved death of Minneapolis man George Floyd on May 25. After those initial protests disbanded, arrests related to looting and property destruction later occurred in DeKalb and Aurora.

Jensen said he is not looking to make this revenue generator for the city. He said it just better outlines the actions police would already take if a business owner asked police to send an officer over and possibly charge someone with criminal trespassing if they don't leave the property when asked.

“We’re not out here to write tickets — we’re out there to educate,” Jensen said.

The proposed ordinance is anticipated to go before the City Council for a possible vote during the council's 7 p.m. July 14 meeting at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road.

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