Rosecrance President/CEO Philip Eaton was resolute this week in the organization’s commitment to opening a recovery residence in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, despite a last-minute challenge filed Monday by opponents who wish to derail the lifesaving project.
After a hearing in October, the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals granted a special use permit to Rosecrance to proceed with the recovery home. The ZBA issued a strong “resolution” to that effect in December outlining reasons for the positive ruling. Nine opponents filed a challenge on the last possible day seeking to stop the project and have the matter returned to the ZBA for a reversal or a new hearing.
Eaton said construction will continue at full speed on the building at Waveland and Ashland avenues, and the first floor counseling center will open in the spring. Regarding the challenge to the recovery residence on the buildings upper floors, Eaton said Rosecrance will pursue legal recourse to fight the challenge and begin offering those services as soon as possible.
The ZBA was clear in the December resolution that it considers people in recovery to be a protected class under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. For that reason, the ZBA declined to place discriminatory restrictions on the special use permit, as such restrictions would not be applied in the same circumstance to any other tenants.
Read the full statement by Rosecrance President/CEO Philip Eaton below:
“We were gratified by the resounding resolution from The Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals in December in favor of granting a special use permit allowing Rosecrance to open a recovery residence in Lakeview that will offer a drug- and alcohol-free supportive living environment to young adults.
“Considering the urgent need for more services to turn the tide on an epidemic of substance abuse that has claimed so many young lives in Chicago, we were disappointed in the last-minute challenge filed Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, with the Circuit Court of Cook County. Nine plaintiffs who seek to stop this life-saving project have named as defendants Rosecrance, the City of Chicago, the ZBA and individual members of the ZBA. The appeal was disappointing, but not unexpected.
“Meanwhile, we are undeterred in our commitment to this project, which will change the lives of young people who seek a supportive living environment as they continue their recovery.
“We are proceeding at full speed to complete construction of the building at the corner of Waveland and Ashland avenues, and we will open the first-floor counseling center this spring. The counseling center is permitted under current zoning, and it is not in dispute.
“Further, we are committed to offering a residential option at this location to young adults who are in recovery. We are concerned that the legal rights afforded under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act to a protected class are potentially being violated. The Chicago ZBA recognized the legal protections supplied to people in recovery; in addition, the board pointed out the need for this service.”