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Chicago Fast Track Abatement Program

Tool 3: Good Demolition Practices

Chicago Fast Track Abatement Program


Taken directly from City of Chicago website:


In March of 1993, the Fast Track (FTD) ordinance was passed by the City Council. In July of 1998, the ordinance was amended to reflect changes in state law. The FTD ordinance authorizes the City to board, repair or demolish residential and commercial buildings of up to three stories or less in height that are vacant, open and constitute a hazard to the community. All owners/interested parties of record are notified and given an opportunity to board, repair, or demolish the structure. If they fail to properly respond, the FTD ordinance allows the City to take remedial action. Through the Fast Track Abatement Program, the City is able to avoid the time-consuming and costly process of seeking a court ordered demolition.


The FTD process is composed of an inspectional, notification, and determination component The inspection component is basically the same as the Court Ordered Demolition process.


The FTD Ordinance requires the City to notify all parties with a legal interest by four different methods:

  • Posting: An inspector places a large sign on the building which states the building is in a dangerous and hazardous condition, and that unless the owner takes action to secure, repair, or demolish the property, the City may exercise its legal authority to take such action.
  • Certified Mail: After the posting, the City mails certified letters to all parties identified as having a legal interest in the property
  • Notice of Violation: Next, the City records a document, a Notice of Violation, in the Cook Country Recorder of Deeds Office to provide notice to anyone purchasing or investigating the property.
  • Publication: Lastly, the City provides notification to the parties by publishing the address of the building in the newspaper.


If the property is vacant and open for thirty days following all notifications, the City conducts another inspection. If, after the re-inspection, the building continues to be dangerous and hazardous, a second certified letter is mailed to all parties with a legal interest in the property. The letter informs the parties that the City plans to exercise its authority to abate the dangerous conditions at the building.


Once the determination is made to demolish the building, the City starts the bidding and contracting process. The lowest responsible bidder is awarded the contract and required to demolish the structure. Upon completion of the demolition, the City begins its collection proceedings in the same manner used for court ordered demolition.



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