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New ban on Naperville street living
By Melissa Jenco | Daily Herald Staff

Naperville city councilmen are giving Scott Huber 30 days to move out of his encampment on the sidewalk of Chicago Avenue or he will be fined under a new ordinance approved Tuesday.

 

Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Naperville city councilmen are giving Scott Huber 30 days to move out of his encampment on the sidewalk of Chicago Avenue or he will be fined under a new ordinance approved Tuesday.

 

Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

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Published: 10/7/2009 12:03 AM

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Naperville will no longer allow Scott Huber to live on a downtown sidewalk where he has been camped for years.

Councilmen approved an ordinance Tuesday banning sleeping, camping and storing personal property downtown.

"To me this is an encampment that's been going on for a while and getting bigger and more elaborate in the last couple years than a lot of us can handle," Councilman Richard Furstenau said. "It's time we put an end to this."

Scott Huber, 58, has been living on the streets of Naperville since 2001 and has said he is not homeless but is protesting city government injustices against him.

He has set up a makeshift shelter on the sidewalk of Chicago Avenue just east of Washington and calls himself a businessman. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2007.

Huber spoke before councilmen for the third time Tuesday, calling the issue a "spiritual warfare battle" and pointing to a protest that has gone on in Washington, D.C., for 28 years.

"There is no excuse for those affluent and holier than thou in Naperville to violate federal law and ban my presence," he said.

But City Attorney Margo Ely said the ordinance is written so as to protect the economic vitality of the downtown.

The city council voted 6-1 in favor of the ordinance, which will go into effect in 30 days.

Furstenau, Kenn Miller, Doug Krause, Judy Brodhead, Jim Boyajian and Paul Hinterlong voted in favor while Robert Fieseler voted against it. Mayor George Pradel and Councilman Grant Wehrli were absent.

Krause cited safety concerns and said the city does and will continue to allow protests, but he and others questioned what Huber is actually protesting.

Fieseler, the lone "no" vote, said he was reluctant to "focus the heavy hand of government authority on people's actions and behavior" and has concerns about the constitutionality of the ordinance. He advised Huber to go just outside downtown boundaries.

Boyajian said if a similar situation crops up in another area, the council will pass another ordinance.

"If we have to fight this issue block by block, then that's what we'll do," he said.

Ely said she will give Huber a letter explaining the ordinance along with a list of shelters.

Violators who disobey the sleeping and camping rules are subject to a fine of $50 for the first or second offenses within a year and $100 for third and subsequent offenses within that period.

Those who continue to store personal property downtown will receive a notice giving them a week to remove it or the city will do so. The owner would be responsible for paying the costs of removing and storing the property.

The offenses themselves are not jailable, but if a violator is ordered by a judge to obey them and he or she does not do so, that person could be considered in contempt of court and jailed, Ely said.

Huber said if he receives a citation he will challenge it in federal court.

Camp: Man plans to fight ordinance