The Yorkville City Council shot down a proposal to require all new residential construction projects to include an active radon reduction system in new homes.
Aldermen overwhelmingly opposed the plan, saying they did not want to add an additional governmental burden to developers, especially when the city is hoping to attract new developments.
The proposal was prompted after a resident and alderman expressed concern with the high level of radon in homes. Radon is gas produced from the decay of naturally occurring uranium in soil and water.Yorkville and Kendall County are in an area designated as Zone 1 for radon levels, according to a chart by the Environmental Protection Agency. Radon is drawn into a home from the ground through the air flow. Radon is a proven carcinogen. For those reasons the city economic development corporation wanted to amend ordinances to require the active systems, which staff said would cost approximately $300. Current homes are required to have a passive radon reduction system, said Pete Ratos, the city building inspector. The difference between the two systems is an active fan, which is what the $300 would cover, he said.
Before the vote Yorkville resident Fred Anderson told council an active radon system was good for residential homes.
“From a cost benefit analysis it makes sense … but I don’t think there’s a need to mandate this, there’s no need for the city council to do this,” said Ward 1 Alderman Carlo Colosimo.
He added an active system should be the choice of the developer and home buyer.
In support of the proposal Ward 4 Alderman Rose Ann Spears said she wanted to see the city of Yorkville take a leadership role in mitigating the threat of radon. She said the additional $300 would not be preventative for builders or residents purchasing a home. Besides, she added, leaving something up to the discretion of home builders is one of the reasons the city is having to increase property taxes in three residential Special Service Areas.
“That’s the worst disaster the city has seen,” she said.
Ratos said the soil content in Yorkville and through much of Illinois is in a high radon area. Some of the areas older homes do not have the passive system due to the construction design that allows air to circulate more freely within a house, Ratos said. Newer homes are built to a different standard and require the venting system, he added.