Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood

Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing Live-Blog

Posted by Eric Scheidler on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

SurveyTonight: Live blogging from the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on alleged Planned Parenthood zoning and permitting violations.

6:45 p.m. The public are beginning to arrive, forty or fifty pro-lifers so far, all wearing red carnations on their lapels in sign of pro-life solidarity. The members of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) are taking their seats too on the dias.

Attorney Chris Wilson, representing Planned Parentood, is seated at the "Applicant" table just in front of my seat at the right end of the first row.

6:50 p.m. Our attorneys, Peter Breen and Tom Brejcha, have just sat down at the Appelant table. Between them is a table for the City's attorneys, as yet unoccupied. Now Alayne Weingartz takes her seat at the City table.

6:55 p.m. Zoning administrator Ed Sieben, whose professional opinion as the chief zoning officia on these matters has yet to be heard, has just introduced himself to the attorneys. Meanwhile, I have moved down to the left side of the first row, closer to our champions Brejcha and Breen. Beside me sit Vince Tessitori, local zoning attorney, and Rich Baker, one of the attorneys working with us on the case.

Carnations7:00 p.m. The meeting should commence any moment. Up on the dias, to the left, are attorneys Steve Anderson and Peter Wilson (no relation to Chris Wilson), who represent the ZBA. And then in the center where the Mayor usually sits, is ZBA chairman Margaret Truax and, moving right, ZBA Commissioners Linda Cole, Bill Bergeron, Kenneth Karrels, Don Pilmer, Ken Jones and Kenneth Cameron.

7:05 p.m. Seems like there's some kind of problem with the microphones that they're working out.

7:10 p.m. The microphone problem seems to have been worked out. Margaret Truax has just brought to meeting to order and the role has been called. The attorneys are instroducing themselves. It appears there is a problem with Brejcha and Breen's mic, as well as Weingartz's.

7:15 p.m. The mics are working again. Now Truax introduces the ZBA's attorneys, and hands it over to Pete Wilson to give some background information and procedural instructions.

Wilson explains that he and his associate are there to maintain an orderly meeting, act as parliamentarians on matters of procedure and such if needed. Now he's describing what a ZBA is under Illinois law: a quasi-judicial board whose decisions on zoning and applications matters may be appealed to a state court.

Wilson explains some of the rules under which this matter will be discussed by the ZBA, the enumerating of which I will spare my readers. But it doesn't sound as if this hearing will be as dramatic as an episode of Law and Order.

ZBA7:20 p.m. Wilson continues. It appears that the ZBA will today provide a timeline for Appelants (that's us) to respond to the City's motion to dismiss, a matter which must be decided before moving forward with the hearing.

The Appelants need to respond to the City's motion to dismiss the appeal as untimely and outside the jurisdiction of the ZBA, and the City and Applicant need to reply. Wilson is suggesting a single date to handle both of these matters (untimeliness and jurisdiction).

7:25 p.m. Tom Brejcha addresses the board to say that they are responding to both the jurisdictional and timeliness issues. Wilson had suggested their concern was solely timeliness.

7:30 p.m. Brejcha notes that documents have not been provided to them and they could have offered a response to the Motion to Dismiss in time for this hearing otherwise.

Now the attorneys are talking about how much time they need for this response and reply business. Weingartz says she wants a week, which Chris Wilson says is sooner than he thought, but they wouldn't need to repond anyway, so a week is fine. Brejcha says that two days would be enough for them (apparently two days from the week that Weingartz wants).

7:35 p.m. The key question here seems to be establishing a complete record of all the documents involved in this appeal. I don't know what documents the City has failed to provide.

The board agrees to meet again on Wednesday, December 12 to determine if there are additional documents needed or if the record is complete, and then set a timeline for making a decision on the Motion to Dismiss.

7:40 p.m. Now they're talking about a date for a meeting in January to address the Motion to Dismiss. They've chosen January 7.

It's clear that what is happening here is that Alayne Weingartz is scheming to delay this process as long as possible, requiring a week for what need only take a day or two, and, in the first place failing to provide our attorneys all the documents necessary for them to have made a response to the Motion to Dismiss.

This is exactly the strategy you'd expect from a municipality with something to hide.

7:45 p.m. The meeting has just adjourned until December 12 at 7:00 p.m. I will talk to the attorneys a bit and see if I can't "nutshell" some of the legal issues here for you shortly.

8:10 p.m. I've had the chance to chat with our attorneys, and they're pleased that the ZBA appears to be taking this matter quite seriously.

It seems Weingartz is keen to keep the Leutkehans report out of these proceedings; that's part of the disagreement over documents. Weingartz maintains that the City has not made any zoning determination since July, and therefore our appeal is untimely (it must be made within 60 days of a zoning determination). But the on the basis of the Leutkehans report, the City imposed conditions on the kinds of abortions Planned Parenthood can do. That's a zoning determination, we say.

So the process has begun. We'll be back on December 12 for the next hearing on this matter.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 at 6:07 pm and is filed under Community Impact, Legal and Political, News, Planned Parenthood. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

10 Responses to “Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing Live-Blog”

  1. L.K. says:

    I am so praying right now!!!!

    November 28th, 2007 at 7:58 pm
  2. L.K. says:

    January 7th is perfect for Alayne!!! Right after the holidays…should be very convenient for her.

    November 28th, 2007 at 8:54 pm
  3. Meagan says:

    Everybody definently keep praying. anyone who ca show up to any of these meetings if greatly appreciated. While these meetings may not always be exciting, they are meaningful. Any of us that attended clearly got to see how the city is handling this, drawing it out as long as possible, as Eric stated. If any one can show up just to see the people who we need to be praying for it just makes it seem so much more real. Thanks for everyone who was praying at home for us. Keep faith that everything goes according to His perfect plans, and as long as we are in accordance to Him, He will move the mountains.

    November 28th, 2007 at 9:04 pm
  4. Library Betty says:

    I was there and encourage anyone interested to attend the future meetings. It is obvious that the city wants to drag this out and have it fall out of mind with the public. We can not allow this to happen.

    One thing I noted is that the city attorney did not want her microphone to work and was obviously not interested in having those present hear her statements. That was very disrespectful in my opinion — it's a public meeting and and the public should be able to hear all participants.

    I thank the lawyers for their clear communication at the meeting and strong advocacy for appellants.

    November 28th, 2007 at 9:26 pm
  5. Wanda Geist says:

    I have to say that I'm disappointed that the city would not want to give this a fair hearing, instead they want to have it dismissed and the issues never heard. I guess I have still been giving them the benefit of the doubt but this motion clearly indicates the city doesn't want it brought out in a fair hearing. And to use the issue of timelinesss when that has been our issue all along. If there had been full disclosure of the planned parenthood issues from the beginning – timeliness would not have been an issue. And then, we gave the city the benefit of the doubt as they requested and performed their own investigation – we waited for their answer. Now they want to try to use that good will on our part as a reason to dismiss the appeal for a real hearing of the issues???
    I guess I'm naive. What am I missing here?

    November 28th, 2007 at 10:33 pm
  6. Brian says:

    Eric,

    The most obvious argument against the motion to dismiss (in my opinion) is that the delay in challenging the zoning determination was because of civil fraud on the part of PP. They lied about the nature of the facility to the City so those who might object would not know about what was going in there in a timely matter. PP said through Gemini that it was a for profit medical center. They said that they didn't know who was going to be their tenant. But that was a lie. They even bragged about the success of their lie! "I'm surprised we were able to keep this under wraps for so long" (my approximation of PP's statement). For the City to say that those challenging the zoning approval should have acted more quickly is chutzpah to the nth degree. PP lied and lied effectively. The success of their lie should not be held against those who want the truth.

    November 28th, 2007 at 11:19 pm
  7. Brian says:

    You have lawyers working on this case, obviously, but statutes of limitation have equitable exceptions and fraud is one of them. Also, as Wanda points out, trying to exhaust the remedies available to those who might otherwise challenge the determination in other ways is a reasonable reason to set aside a hard deadline. It was reasonable for you to wait to see what the City would determine in its investigation before filing an appeal with the zoning board.

    November 28th, 2007 at 11:24 pm
  8. Mary Lu says:

    (I would like to clear up the above as I understand law. Would Eric, Mr Brecha or Mr Breen please correct me here if I am wrong….)

    As you mentioned, we have lawyers—excellent ones–working on this. The "dismiss" thing, I believe, is the motion that the CITY desires. Dismissing has not been done. And the zoning commission tonight never said that they were going to dismiss it. They just mentioned that would not even begin hearing the PRESENTATION of that from the city UNTIL everyone agrees that the RECORD is sound–that is until the record is complete to the appelate (our side.)

    The zoning board tonight has not decided either way. If they look at this blog, they have to know this: "we are praying very hard for them to make the right decision." IF they dismiss—it only means that we will take it to a higher court. And we will and we will be heard. Here or there or elsewhere, our team of lawyers will win this case! Yes they will. convince yourself becasue it is going to happen! Get excited!

    Yes, all this means, disgustingly, that babies are dying while we play this legal game. And mothers are dying inside. Pray for them too. Sometimes my Faith has waivered on this stuff. But I know God IS working here. For reasons only he knows, it is His timetable. All these innocents in heaven are also praying for us and their Mommies and Daddies. There is a whole host of spirituality praying for and with us. Sit back and take a quiet moment to sense this. It is real. It is tremendous.

    Until then–continue to not lose heart, get caught up in it—just PRAY PRAY PRAY

    November 29th, 2007 at 12:08 am
  9. Maria says:

    Yes, there is a cadre of us praying for this situation. The ZBA member assigned to me by Eric is being lifted up daily by my entire family. We are praying that he is being protected by the blood of Jesus, that every thought entering his mind is from the Spirit of the Living God and that every word out of his mouth be of the Holy Spirit. Praise God! let us continue to be vigilant re: this issue.

    November 29th, 2007 at 1:20 am
  10. amc says:

    We are praying for Hoochie and all those misguided souls who don't accept the truth.

    December 1st, 2007 at 12:27 pm

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