Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood

Live from the December 12 ZBA hearing

Posted by Eric Scheidler on Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

BobcatTonight: Live-blogging from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hearing in the Council Chambers of City Hall. At the first hearing November 28, the ZBA set a time line and ground rules for the hearings. Tonight's hearing will deal with our Motion to Complete the Record.

Breaking News: This afternoon, our attorneys filed a Motion for Subpoenas [PDF], asking the ZBA to allow us to conduct expedited depositions of Zoning Administrator Ed Sieben, Building Official Herman Beneke and independent investigators Phillip Luetkehans and Richard Martens.

We want to depose these individuals to ascertain why the incorrect zoning designation was employed for more than two years on the Planned Parenthood site, and how Aurora city officials can claim that no zoning decisions have been made since October 2006.

We're asking for expedited depositions because we've learned that Planned Parenthood's occupancy permit is in truth only a temporary permit, set to expire in five days. In light of the zoning violations we've highlighted—especially the faulty zoning category used these past two years—we wonder how city officials can extend that temporary permit past the deadline.

Appeals, Motions and Responses: In advance of this evening's hearing, I offer this list of Appeals, Motions and Responses submitted by the parties to the ZBA thus far:

ZBA Hearing live blog coverage

ZBA6:55 p.m. The attorneys are all seated, along with most of the ZBA. There are at present 6 Planned Parenthood supporters and more than 50 members of Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood in the galley, with more arriving every minute.

7:00 p.m. ZBA Chairman Margaret Truax has just called the meeting to order. The roll has been called. All ZBA members are present except one.

7:05 p.m. FVFAPP Attorney Tom Brejcha is explaining both our Motion to Complete the Record, filed Nov. 28, and our Motion to Subpoena, filed today. ZBA counsel Steve Andersson suggests that the Motion to Subpoena be put off for now, and the focus placed on the Motion to Complete the Record.

Brejcha goes on to explain that the City, in their Motion to Dismiss, is arguing that no zoning decisions have been made in over a year, but he quotes the City's outside counsel, Lance Malina, declaring in federal court that the City of Aurora was conducting a zoning investigation with a view to acting on that investigation—in other words, making zoning decisions.

Weingartz7:10 p.m. Alayne Weingartz responds. She says the ZBA must determine whether they have jurisdiction over this appeal before deciding what the record of documents should be record be. She suggests our motive is to pack the record with every possible document that would relate to the legal theories that we're "inventing" in this proceeding.

She says that once the zoning administrator has made a zoning determination (in this case, in November 2006), there are no more "determinations" being made with regard to zoning. The authority for making decisions thereafter belongs to the Building Official, with any appeals going to the Building Code Board of Appeals.

Weingartz concludes by asking that this board rule that it does not have jurisdiction over this matter, or if it determines otherwise, that the zoning administrator's statement that all relevant documents are already in the record be accepted and no additional documents be entered.

7:15 p.m. Now Chris Wilson, for Gemini/Planned Parenthood responds briefly that he agrees with Weingartz that all relevant documents are already in the record.

Now FVFAPP attorney Peter Breen disputes some of Weingartz's caselaw and insists that there are relevant documents that must be included in this record, a years worth.

7:20 p.m. ZBA Commissioner Linda Cole asks whether there have been any decisions on what the zoning of this property is since November 2006. Weingartz answers no, and Cole says that's what she thought after reading the city's Motion to Dismiss, and remarks that she had to "look up a lot of words in the dictionary."

Breen and BrejchaBrejcha asks leave to answer the question, too. He says we could not possibly disagree more with Weingartz. He says that in the past year, this property has been called in various investigations, studies, reports and so forth: B-1, B-2, B-3, and most recently (and finally correctly) B-B. Brejcha: "We come here with the right on our side . . . The zoning violations here are not technical, but egregious."

7:25 p.m. Now Donald Pilmer asks what Peter Breen meant when he said that the city tries to keep the ZBA from considering any appeals. Breen responds that, if you accept the city's logic, the ZBA is essentially stripped of any jurisdiction.

ZBA parliamentarian Steve Andersson announces that the board will go into executive session and make a decision on our Motion to Complete the Record. He expresses concern about the fact that the Motion to Subpoena was submitted only today and that they need more time to act on it and review; Weingartz says she does too.

Brejcha points out that the transcript from the federal hearing that was centeral to today's motion was only received today, so it could not have been submitted any sooner.

7:30 p.m. The ZBA votes to go into executive session to deliberate our Motion to Complete the Record.

Audience at the ZBA hearing8:05 p.m. The ZBA has returned from executive session. Chairman Truax notes that the ZBA considered only the Motion to Complete the Record (not the Motion to Subpoena), as that was what was agreed prior to this meeting.

Truax goes through the 7 different items of concern in our motion (A-G), and declares their decision on each one. They have agreed to include most of those items, and ordered the city to produce any such documents not in the record as yet.

Without going into A-G in detail, what we're looking at here are staff reports, early stage building plans, and statements made by city officials that would reveal the mindset of the city towards these events.

As of right now, before more careful review of the ZBA's written statement, it appears that the documents omitted were some e-mails from Planned Parenthood and other internal documents cited in the outside counsel reports that made very clear that Planned Parenthood was always the intended tenant of the property.

Andersson emphasized that the inclusion of any document in the official record did not necessarily mean it would be given any weight in the ZBA's consideration.

Long story short, we got almost all of what we wanted. Success!

8:10 p.m. Andersson explains that at the next ZBA meeting, there is the potential for consideration of two motions: the city's Motion to Dismiss, and our Motion to Subpoena. Presumably, our motion will only be considered if the city's motion is denied.

8:15 p.m. The meeting is adjourned.

If you'd like more pictures from this meeting, visit our flickr site here:

http://flickr.com/photos/21518309@N06/sets/72157603480270286/

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2007 at 11:23 am and is filed under Legal and Political, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

15 Responses to “Live from the December 12 ZBA hearing”

  1. L.K. says:

    Inventing???? HA!
    Pot, meet the kettle!

    God bless you Eric & team…you guys rock!

    December 12th, 2007 at 8:16 pm
  2. L.K. says:

    You know, it would be great if you guys could all break out into Kenny Roger's "The Gambler" for Alayne!

    December 12th, 2007 at 8:24 pm
  3. Diane says:

    Eric ~ thanks for the updates ~ I wish I could be there, but this weather is hard to navigate with a wheelchair ~ Diane

    December 12th, 2007 at 8:28 pm
  4. Mary Lu says:

    Lets take a moment to PLEASE pray as the ZBA is in the executive session at this moment.

    December 12th, 2007 at 8:41 pm
  5. L.K. says:

    I posted this on another blog, but thought it would fit nicely here tonight. God's got this!!!! We gave it to him & we need to TRUST Him:

    The Plan Of The Master Weaver

    Our lives are but fine weavings,
    That God and we prepare,
    Each life becomes a fabric planned
    And fashioned in His care.
    We may not always see just how
    The weavings intertwine,
    But we must trust the Master’s hand
    And follow His design,
    For He can view the pattern
    From the upper side,
    While we must look from underneath
    And trust in Him to guide.

    Sometimes a strand of sorrow
    Is added to His plan,
    And though it’s difficult for us,
    We still must understand
    That it’s He who fills the shuttle,
    It’s He who knows what’s best,
    So we must weave in patience
    And leave to Him the rest…

    Not till the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Shall God unroll the canvas
    And explain the reason why—
    The dark threads are as needed
    In the Weaver’s skillful hand
    And the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned.

    –Anonymous

    December 12th, 2007 at 8:58 pm
  6. L.K. says:

    Praise God!!!!!!!!!

    December 12th, 2007 at 9:27 pm
  7. Brian says:

    I'm a little confused. Was the ruling to include everything in the record except for the e-mails? Also, if the motion to dismiss is based on a statute of limitations type argument (untimely appeal), isn't the fact that they bragged about keeping it under wraps the key to an equitable defense to the timeliness issue?

    December 12th, 2007 at 9:47 pm
  8. Mary Lu says:

    UGH!!The laborously, painfully, cruel, slow-ness of this is MADDENNING!!! But God's time not ours!

    December 12th, 2007 at 10:27 pm
  9. Brian says:

    I don't understand. If Planned Parenthood was legally approved and zoned by the city, why doesn't the city just show the documents? Why the game of hide and seek if all legal matters were followed?

    December 12th, 2007 at 11:20 pm
  10. Meagan says:

    Thank God for all of His plans, and let His people continue to seek His will instead of their own. Everyone who came out thank you so much..and to those of you offereing your prayers and support thank you also. Let us also pray that all of the things that come about are in Gods hands and that He can guide us to follow Him more closely.

    December 12th, 2007 at 11:55 pm
  11. Dan the Methodist says:

    I would like to thank all who spent time at City Hall tonight. I only got there as things were winding up, but got a good feeling from Eric that things are on track. We don't know where the tracks go, but seem to be headed in a good direction.
    I would like to thank the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals, for seeing itself as an independent body and taking the time to make informed, well thought out and judicious decisions in our cases.
    I am not sure, but from the blog Eric left, I am left with the impression that Ms. Weingartz is not acting very impartial on this issue and she believes that the ZBA is made up of administrators and paper pushers for The Mayor and Queen Weingartz.
    Why would the City get involved if it had no vested interest? They are not getting sales tax out of that prime real estate for the City. Clearly there isn't a Utopian love in going on at the gates of Planned Parenthood (much to the disappointment of PP). Is it because of their core values that they press ahead interfering with an appeal and subsequent 2nd investigation??? Is it because Queen Weingartz is fighting to sustain a plausible campaign for state office along with The Mayor, since clearly they will be 1 termers?? As plausible candidates, they could cash in the "Elected Lobbyist" chips in for campaign contributions and endorsements. Things that make you go Hmmmmmmm.
    As for the ZBA, I hope they are "Mavericks" who view their granted positions as service to the citizens of Aurora and not perpetual obedience to the Queen. This is a chance for citizens to see their tax dollars at work. When does the average citizen even know what the ZBA is or what power their decisions have?? I just learned what ZBA stood for. Let's see a government of the people, by the people, for the people in action, using the powers entrusted to them responsibly and judiciously. Please pray for the ZBA!!

    December 12th, 2007 at 11:58 pm
  12. Halo says:

    My, my, my…it seems you guys are getting desperate here. Zoning violations? Please.

    December 16th, 2007 at 9:38 pm
  13. Charles says:

    Halo,

    Yes, I know exactly what you are thinking; why are we going after PP for not building in the correct place and to proper building code. Seems a little petty to you–I’ll bet. As I am sure you, just like me, are astonished that, for some unknown reason, the judiciary has allowed for the murder and annihilation of human life to continue. To that I say, you do what you can, to protect one precious life at a time.

    December 17th, 2007 at 12:12 am
  14. 9b945d77cb87 says:

    9b945d77cb87…

    9b945d77cb8794f4560f…

    May 11th, 2008 at 8:06 pm
  15. Pro-Life Hotline » Blog Archive » Abortionist Hodari: Doctors Have a License to Lie says:

    [...] has posted all of the Appeals, Motions, and Responses submitted to the ZBA thus far on the Families Against [...]

    December 23rd, 2008 at 2:07 pm

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