EnvironmentGovernmentPublic Funds

Urbana experiences the lowest number of nuisance complaints in three years

Diana Anghel / For CU-CitizenAccess

Throughout this year, about 466 nuisance complaints were reported in Urbana. Nuisance complaints include weeds and overgrown trees and vegetation, trash, debris, loud noise and unsafe housing, according to the City of Urbana

This is the lowest number of complaints the city of Urbana has seen in the past three years. In 2020, 481 nuisances were reported, less than 623 in 2019 and 527 in 2018. The most common complaint throughout the years is overgrown weeds. 2021 followed this pattern, with 281 reports stemming from weeds on properties in the city. 

In total, about $10,104 was made by the city from public nuisance fees, according to the city’s Map of Nuisance Complaints database. Comparatively, this is a noticeably lower sum than previous years. In 2020, the city gave out $29,666 in fees, and in 2019, $101,386 was collected. Weeds and grass complaints resulted in more expensive fees than municipal waste fees. 

The most problematic areas are the blocks on South Busey Avenue and South Coler Avenue, bordered by West Illinois Street and West Michigan Avenue. Properties between these streets had municipal waste complaints at every corner, on top of overgrown weeds and grass.

Darrell Hoemann Busey Avenue looking south from Illinois Street in Urbana on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Photo by Darrell Hoemann/CU-CitizenAccess

Another problematic corner of the city was at the intersection of East Pennsylvania Avenue and Wiley Drive, with three different properties dealing with two or more complaints about weeds and grass. 

Many areas and properties were reported more than once. Residents who want to submit complaints connected to their own rental property and landlords must first notify the landlord and allow time for the problem to be resolved before submitting it to the city. Additionally, tenants’ names must be included in the lease for the ability to submit a complaint to the city. 

The City of Champaign uses SeeClickFix as a platform to report non-emergency issues, like potholes, graffiti and broken streetlights. Residents can log into the portal to submit photos of nuisances with an address and photo depicting the issue. For example, on Dec. 4, a resident of Champaign submitted a complaint of miscellaneous debris.

“Trees cut Down and left blocking the sidewalk and street at the intersection of Elmwood Drive and Springfield Avenue in Champaign,” the complaint reads, accompanied by a photo. The submission was acknowledged by the city, which is supposed to be  followed by a status update once the nuisance is fixed. 

SeeClickFix also has the option to submit nuisance complaints for Urbana, but Urbana is not active in acknowledging the reports on this platform. Requests from over a year ago are still open, likely meaning that no representative from the city has viewed the requests or updated its information. 

Instead, Urbana’s protocol of submitting a nuisance complaint is reliant on the Citizenserve website. Users need to create an account to submit a request. A short description of the problem, the address and a few short questions are required to report a nuisance. 

Diana Anghel / For CU-CitizenAccess

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