Zoning rules exist for a reason. They keep a neighbor from changing their property in such a way that it devalues the surrounding properties. With County board elections next week, a reminder is in order.
In 2009, An Islamic group bought a house, zoned residential, near Army Trail and Smith in West Chicago IL, and began using it for religious services. The quantity and frequency of traffic became problematic and so the neighbors complained about this illegal use of the property. The early DuPage County Board meetings found against ICWS use of the property, but, having not finalized it, the saga went on and the final meeting found in favor of ICWS.
At all Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) board meetings from 2009 thru 2012 at which a decision regarding ICWS was made, they voted NO to the ICWS requests. At one Development meeting they voted YES but the full County Board vote was not taken until 2012, at which point the county board voted NO to the conditional use request. The NO vote from the county in 2012 should have ended this request forever.
However, in 2013 with threats of lawsuits from the ICWS, the ZBA, the Development Committee, and the County Board reversed their decisions and voted in favor of the ICWS.
The DuPage County Board’s Development Committee (DC) met on April 17, 2013 to consider ICWS’s Conditional Use Petition. In a stunning upset, the DC voted 3-2 to GRANT conditional use to this petitioner even though various DC members acknowledged the injurious nature of the ICWS activities, the combative behavior of several of its members, and actually scolded the ICWS for their un-neighborly conduct.
It is important to note that on March 1, 2012 the Zoning Board of Appeals voted 6-1 AGAINST granting Conditional Use and gave a very detailed explanation of how the ICWS’s activities will be injurious to the neighborhood, detrimental to the public welfare, and that granting conditional use will:
- Depreciate the value of the homes in the immediate vicinity,
- Dramatically increases the traffic congestion and hazards to everyone in the area,
- Increase the likelihood of flooding in the future due to the property alterations the ICWS has already made, and
- Exposes the neighbors to compromised well and septic systems as the ICWS is not on city sewer and water.
This is NOT about any religion. It IS about the rule of law. The right to protect our private property and potential property tax increases to support infrastructure problems caused by non profits which take over private homes for commercial use.
This became a political decision for the County Board – the Pine Court neighborhood and other unincorporated neighborhoods were thrown under the bus!
At the June 25, 2013 DuPage County board meeting, Ordinance #ZP-Z11-025A (petitioner Islamic Center of Western Suburbs (ICWS)), as amended, was approved and adopted. After virtually the same proposal had been turned down a year early. Hold these county board members accountable for their vote.
On roll call,
Voted “aye.” – for the ICWS and against the laws and rules of the county
Chaplin (District 2),
Curran (District 3),
DiCianni (District 2),
Eckhoff (District 4),
Fichtner (District 1),
Healy (District 5),
Michelassi (District 5),
Nowak (District 6),
Puchalski (District 1)
Tornatore (District 1)
Grasso (District 3),
Khouri (District 5),
Krajewski (District 3),
Larsen (District 6),
McBride (District 4),
Noonan (District 2)
Zay (District 6)
Member Grant (District 4) was not present at the time of roll call.