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One of your most recent postings has forced me to contact you regarding your “builders gone wild” web site.

Please allow me to say that I respect your first amendment rights and I’m sure you gain much satisfaction from your endeavors. You have obviously invested a great deal of time to put this web site together. You are probably still spending many hours driving around town looking for more photo opportunities.

You have taken upon yourself the mission of “archiving violations…to show detrimental effects” of new residential construction in our neighborhoods. You claim these “pictures document various violations” yet you do not research the code. And you state the “goal of this site is to return to a reasonable quality of life”. However, it appears that the goal of your site is to incite public resentment for city officials. How else would you explain the setback section where you list 101 homes that are “suspiciously close to the lot line” when a little bit of research on your part would demonstrate that most (if not all) are within code.

You should try your best to accurately present issues that are in violation of Elmhurst codes and ordinances. For instance, there is a photo with a stated date of 07/27/2007 taken at 656 Mitchell. You claim that there is a roof covering the stairs and that is a violation of the setback code. Please refer to section 4.6-3 of the zoning ordinances and you will notice that trellises are permissible. This is just one more example of your inaccuracy in “documenting violations”. If you are so dissatisfied with the building ordinances in our fine city, I think that your time would be better spent trying to appeal to our public officials to make changes to these codes.

After a client had complained to me about your web site I decided to check for myself. I am thoroughly disappointed by the lack of integrity and credibility presented. For this same photo at 656 Mitchell, someone temporarily moved my sign so that it is centered in your photo. Can you please explain why the situation was manipulated? Was it you that moved my sign? Why? What are you trying to prove? We have never met nor had any personal contact. Why are you trying to discredit myself and my firm? I am a lifelong resident of Elmhurst and proud of it. My family is happy and secure here. I always try to play by the rules and you should too. The issues you present on this web site should be qualified as your interpretation, especially since you do not bother looking in to the facts. Worse yet, you are now taking matters into your own hands and “recreating the scene” as if you are some famous movie director. Fact vs. fiction.

John M. Belcher, NCARB, ALA

President, JMB Architects