A local reporter called it “the end of the line for a controversial zoning appeal of Planned Parenthood’s new facility” when an Aurora, Ill., zoning board rejected arguments by abortion opponents, but an organization in the middle of the dispute says it is anything but “the end.”
“The next steps in this case will be taken,” Eric Scheidler of Families Against Planned Parenthood told WND. “This case is far from over.”
At issue is Planned Parenthood’s mega-clinic in Aurora, Ill., built as a front company with the acronym GOD deceived city officials about the project. City officials, in fact, have admitted the abortion business was built under the wrong zoning requirements, and was required to meet demands that were much less strict than the zoning actually in force for the land where the 22,000-square-foot building sits.
Peter Breen, a lawyer working with the team assembled by the Thomas More Society to handle the case, said several issues were presented to the Aurora zoning board of appeals, including the fact the land’s zoning requires a for-profit corporation, while Planned Parenthood itself is non-profit, and through that status obtained more than $8 million in state bonds to build the project.
But board members voted this week to dismiss the case “agreeing with the city and Planned Parenthood that the appeal did not fall within their jurisdiction,” according to reporter Andre Salles in a Naperville newspaper.
But Breen earlier told WND a dismissal probably would be the best possible result the group could hope for from the city decision-making process, because then the path to a lawsuit over the issues would be wide open.
The legal team from the Thomas More Society working on the Aurora Planned Parenthood case includes Peter Breen, Rich Baker and Tom Brejcha
Breen said a major error in the project was confirmed by the city recently, when officials started referring to ordinance 093-124 rather than to 093-123, “which had expired and which they had been citing previously,” in connection with the case.
“In addition, the city cited the wrong ordinance as a basis for favorable zoning determinations in a pair of investigations undertaken by two touted zoning experts, private lawyers acting on behalf of the city, which led to Mayor Tom Weisner announcing the renewal of Planned Parenthood’s temporary occupancy permit…” the center said.
“If the proper ordinance had been cited and complied with, Planned Parenthood should never have opened,” the group said.
An attorney for the city said there was only a 45-day appeal period for zoning decisions to be challenged, and the zoning decision in this case was made in 2006. However, Scheidler said the deceptions by Planned Parenthood, and mistakes by the city, prevented abortion opponents from knowing about such issues during that 45-day period.
He said the group, as well as other individuals involved in opposing the new mega-clinic, will be reviewing the city’s written decision as soon as it’s available before making a determination on the next course of action, which could be either to return to the city board with new challenges, or go to court.
The project erupted into controversy when officials for a company operating as Gemini Office Development (GOD), admitted they were a front for Planned Parenthood and confirmed they concealed their identity in order to prevent the public from knowing in advance about the huge abortion business they were opening in Aurora.
The opening of the facility was held up several weeks, from September to October, for an investigation into deceptions by the abortion provider during the permitting and construction process, but the mayor eventually concluded there was no legal reason for the abortion business not to open.
Weisner said although the company was not “forthright,” there were no legal grounds to keep it shut.
The project had been described as an office building throughout its permitting process. However, as WND columnist Jill Stanek reported, a pro-life construction worker on the project became suspicious of the bulletproof glass and surgical suites, components not routine in an office building.
It was soon outed as an abortion facility, prompting protests and outrage from pro-life community members who said, as Stanek phrased it, “If citizens may lie to occupancy permit officials, may they also lie to police officers? Or at city council meetings? Where will Aurora draw the line between permissible and impermissible lies?”
Part of application papers from a front company for Planned Parenthood, indicating the occupant of its new building was ‘unknown at this time’
“At a minimum, the city of Aurora should launch an official and legal investigation, questioning the applicant and tenant under oath about statements on applications and in meetings,” she said. “If the city does not, is something more going on, a cover-up? Did some officials know that the public documents filed and statements made by the applicant were false? Did some officials know the tenant was to be an abortion provider, but then conspired with Gemini to keep it quiet to avoid politically unfavorable publicity?”
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said the deception probably was the result of two issues: the fact that a Planned Parenthood clinic’s construction in Austin, Texas, earlier was delayed for months when local contractors refused to work on the project, and the general atmosphere that accompanies abortion businesses.
“What do you get when you get an abortion facility? Not only do you get dead children, the blight and underworld that comes along with that, but you also get thousands upon thousands of pro-lifers who adorn the streets with pictures of aborted children,” he told WND. “I don’t think either is good for a community.”
The tactic, however, is not isolated to the Illinois location. Newman said the same scenario developed with Denver, where Planned Parenthood recently purchased a building without announcing its presence.
“The bottom line is nobody wants an abortion facility in their community. It’s kind of like a toxic waste dump,” he said.
Among issues that remain unresolved, Breen said, including the fact that the zoning for the land does not allow non-profit health-related facilities, and the zoning rules require plans for the property be given city council approval, which was not obtained before construction, and a filing of preliminary plans, which also wasn’t done.
The project also fails to comply with the 35-foot setback requirements and parking-related minimums under its city zoning. The zoning calculations require 95 oversized parking spaces for a building of that size, and there exists space for only 71, Breen said.
Stunning new expose of Planned Parenthood: “Struggling for Life: How our Tax Dollars and Twisted Science Target the Unborn”