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Apartment Building Proposal for Mentally Ill Gets Support from John Marshall Law Clinic that Deals in Fair Housing

Thu October 28 2010 4:01 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=31317
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The Daveri Development Group is asking the Arlington Heights Village Board to reconsider its May decision denying zoning variances needed for a proposed 30-unit complex at 120 and 122 E. Boeger Road. Allison K. Bethel, director of The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic, sent Village of Arlington Heights officials a letter asking them to revisit the request. Representing Caveri Development Group, and claiming they are acting in a conciliatory manner, Bethel is reported in the Daily Herald to say that if the relaxed variance issue can’t be resolved, the Daveri Development Group is willing to move forward with litigation.

The developer of a proposed apartment building ‘Boeger Place’ for the mentally ill maintains Arlington Heights officials acted illegally in rejecting the proposal and is considering legal action to overturn the decision.

The plan originated with a group of parents called North/Northwest Suburban Task Force on Supportive Housing for Individuals with Mental Illness. That group has partnered with Daveri Development and with Thresholds, a nonprofit that provides mental health services.

The letter from the John Marshall Law Clinic to the Village of Arlington Heights was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act and given to the Daily Herald by opponents of the project, and states that “persons with mental disabilities are included within the protected classes of the Federal and State Fair Housing Acts, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These laws require municipalities to make reasonable accommodations to their policies, practices and procedures to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to live and enjoy housing opportunities available to others.”

The Village of Arlington Heights already has two locations with housing assistance for persons with mental disabilities. One of the locations is just south of the U.S. Postal Service office, south of Euclid Avenue. Police frequent the location several times per week — commonly for suicide threats, disputes, and other disturbances.

The proposed location south of Buffalo Grove High School, under a radio tower, and surrounded by busy roads, is proposed to provide supportive housing for people with mental illness. But it would be a greater distance from the Arlington Heights Police Department Headquarters, and would lack the proximity of the same quantity of protection of surrounding police beat car units, compared to the location that already exists near the post office. The proposed location would also be a greater distance from a grocery store, compared to the existing location in central Arlington Heights. The pedestrian hazards along Dundee Road to get to a grocery store would also be greater compared to the existing location near downtown Arlington Heights.

Flashback …
An Allison Bethany served as an appellant for defendants Thaddeus Pudlo and Walter J. Pudlo in 1983. The appellants attempted to use the Fourth Amendment as grounds for reversal of convictions of the restaurant owners. The records named Allison Bethany was part of a group appellants attempting to have a higher court rule that restaurant inspections were unconstitutional — that the City of Chicago violated the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution because a city codes chapter authorized warrantless searches of any establishment within the city of Chicago. The appellants wanted the convictions reversed for the defendants, and were asking for the return of seized weapons.

In a lower court Thaddeus Pudlo was found guilty in 1981 of refusing to allow an inspection of his food establishment, and a violation for obstructing a Chicago inspector in the performance of his duties. Both restaurant owners, Thaddeus and Walter Pudlo were charged with failure to hold a license for the business, failure to pay a truck license fee, violating sanitary code by having a dog on the premises, having unsanitary conditions on the premises, and having rubbish on the premises. The record reveals that weapons were seized from the defendants’ upstairs living quarters. The record also reveals that the weapons were not registered, and that had the weapons been registered, they would have been returned to the restaurant owners. Instead because they were unregistered, they were destroyed.

A representative of the Department of Health, after proper identification, shall be permitted to enter, at any reasonable time, any establishment within the City of Chicago for the purpose of making an inspection to determine compliance with this ordinance. He shall be permitted to examine the records of the establishment to obtain pertinent information relating to food, water, beverages and supplies received or used, and persons employed.

— Chapter 130-9, Municipal Code City of Chicago

The public interest asserted by the government is the protection of the health and safety of consumers through regulations such as approved sources of food supplies and storage procedures to prevent contamination of food products. The scope of the intrusion is limited by the Code to areas where there is food production or storage. The record disclosed that the search was initially made pursuant to a computer listing which named all food establishments in Chicago. At the hearing, City of Chicago supervising food inspector for the Department of Consumer Services, John R. Colletti, stated that defendants had been issued a license to operate a food establishment in 1979 and 1980. Colletti noted, however, that the defendant’s license had been suspended in 1980 for unsanitary conditions and had never been reinstated. Colletti further testified that defendants were still operating the food establishment. The search warrant was then issued over defendants’ objections. Bethany’s group argued there was no probable cause to search the premises.

The higher court ruled that the decision of the circuit court finding defendant guilty of violating section 130-9 of the Code is affirmed. A decision regarding the return of defendants’ weapons was reversed and remanded with directions. Additionally, the conviction of Walter J. Pudlo was vacated but in all other respects, the judgment of the circuit court is affirmed. Inspecting the restaurant was not determined to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

If this is the same Allison Bethany, opponents of the apartment plan will presumably be pressing Allison Bethany to respect the public interest for the area and the well-being of prospective mentally ill inhabitants; and additionally be aware, investigative, and responsive regarding any possible false claims by the John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic of discrimination regarding the Village of Arlington Heights zoning laws and decisions.

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