Demolish a property in Highland Park and you could get hit with a hefty demolition tax from the city.

In a column for the Highland Park Patch, Illinois Association of REALTORS® local Government Affairs Director Howard Handler writes about the case of Peter Diambri, an 87-year-old property owner who wants to demolish a vacant house on his property but must pay a $10,000 demolition tax from the city of Highland Park if he does so.

One-third of the $10,000 is to go to the City’s infrastructure fund, and two-thirds of the money will be deposited in the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund that helps provide below market housing to those that may otherwise be unable to afford to live in Highland Park. On top of the $10,000, Diambri would also have to pay an additional $5,000 if he wishes to defer paying the tax now and a $750 demolition permit fee (100 percent of the permit fee is also diverted to the affordable housing fund). Of course, he will also have to pay a contractor an estimated $20,000 for the demolition, writes Handler.

While the city’s goal to fund affordable housing in the community isn’t devoid of merit, Handler says owners of older homes, which are the most likely to be demolished, should not have to shoulder the burden of the city’s efforts.

Read the column, “HP’s demo tax is fundamentally unfair,” in the Highland Park Patch.