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DeKalb County Changing Zoning Laws For Fairdale To Help Tornado Victims Rebuild

CHICAGO (CBS) -- DeKalb County officials have said they're committed to making sure everyone who wants to rebuild after last month's tornado in the small town of Fairdale can clear any legal hurdles that might be in their way.

Residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by the twister soon learned rebuilding wasn't going to be easy, because most of the buildings in town were erected before there were any zoning restrictions or building codes.

"Our issue has been with how to get these people back in their houses. How to get houses coming back out of the ground again," said DeKalb County Board Member Kevin Bunge, whose district includes Fairdale.

County officials have been taking steps to make rebuilding easier, and still seeking solutions to building code conflicts.

"If anybody doesn't rebuild in Fairdale, I believe it will be because they've made the decision not to, not because they weren't able to," Bunge said.


Bunge said the county is changing zoning in Fairdale to solve setback issues for residents – rules about how close homes can be to the street – and allow more flexibility, but the bigger issue is septic systems that are not up to code. He said there are a half dozen options.

"We are right now in the middle of looking at them. We don't have answers for most of the people yet, but there will be answers. We're not done until we have the answers," he said.

Most homeowners were uninsured or underinsured, according to Bunge, but with donations and volunteer labor, he believes they'll find solutions, and homes will be going up again.

"It's problem upon problem upon problem, but you would be stunned to see the people that have stepped forward to help," Bunge said.

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