Champaign ordinance forbids throwing items off balconies

Just under a month before Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, Champaign officials revised the city’s municipal code to prohibit people from throwing, dropping or tossing any containers, liquids or other dangerous objects off balconies or out of windows.

Just under a month before Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day, Champaign officials revised the city’s municipal code to prohibit people from throwing, dropping or tossing any containers, liquids or other dangerous objects off balconies or out of windows.

Laura Hall, assistant city attorney for Champaign, said the change occurred because of an increase in items being thrown out of tall apartments with balconies, such as those in the apartment complex at 309 E. Green St., in Champaign. The ordinance was passed on Feb. 2.

“As more and more of these buildings went up, the problem became more and more eminent,” Hall said. “It isn’t urgent, but it is clearly an issue.”

Nick Hill, leasing manager of Roland Realty, said the apartment complex at 309 E. Green St., has on average one or two cases per semester of people throwing objects off balconies.

“We had tenants in an apartment drop a pumpkin onto our balcony pool,” Hill said. “Luckily, the pool was closed off, so no one was hurt. Still, we take this very seriously with a fine and a stern warning.”

Now that throwing items out of properties is specifically banned in the municipal code, Hall said police hope to see fewer accidents involving items tossed from tall buildings.

The revised section of the code requires citizens who violate it to pay a fine of $165.

“It’s like any ordinance violation. With these in effect, they will discourage these dangerous behaviors,” Hall said. “People will have to think twice before throwing eggs or furniture off the balcony. It isn’t harmless.”

In addition to the $165 the city will charge residents, Hill said Roland Realty will charge its residents $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second. University police may also get involved and tenants may be evicted at management’s judgment.

“In comparison to what we fine, the $165 is not very much. I wouldn’t say our residents would think very much of it in comparison to the consequences they face by us,” Hill said. “We need harsher regulations because 309 (E. Green St.) has so many floors.”

With Unofficial coming up, Brad Tran, president of the Illinois Student Senate, said the University’s student government is very willing to cooperate with Champaign officials and council members to work toward decreasing the occurrence of dangerous item throwing.

“Hopefully, we (students) won’t be throwing any beer bottles at you,” Tran said to the Champaign City Council at the meeting on Feb. 2.