by Steven Ertelt
December 18, 2007
Aurora, IL (LifeNews.com) — City officials extended the occupancy permit of a new Planned Parenthood abortion business on Monday, but pro-life attorneys representing local residents said that shouldn’t have happened. Attorneys with the Thomas More Pro-Life Law Center say extending the permit while an appeal of the zoning process continues is improper.
The Planned Parenthood has been embroiled in a zoning controversy since it first received approval to build a massive new abortion facility using the misleading name Gemini Development Corporation.
Since then, pro-life advocates have appealed the zoning approval process saying that a special permit should have been issued because Planned Parenthood is technically a non-profit group operating a health care facility.
City officials investigated the special permit argument last month and said the abortion center was built in a planned development district with its own set of zoning rules.
As Peter Breen and Thomas Brejcha of Thomas More have appealed the zoning decision, the temporary occupancy permit expired on Monday.
City officials extended it to July 1, 2008 to allow more time for the zoning dispute to be resolved and for city engineers to conduct the require inspections of the new facility, but Breen and Brejcha say that’s illegal.
Breen told the Beacon News that the move violates the city’s own ordinances and that any decision on extending a temporary occupancy permit has to be suspended until the zoning dispute and inspections have been resolved.
City attorney Alayne Weingartz contends the city laws say the appeal only covers the original decision in October 2006 to allow building the new Planned Parenthood to proceed, not the decision to issue a temporary occupancy permit.
The Zoning Appeals Board is expected to hear arguments on the original zoning decision on January 7.
The dispute over the new abortion facility has become a national debate over how Planned Parenthood operates secretly, as it used a covert name to hide its identity during the zoning approval process.
Planned Parenthood used a similar secret process to open a new abortion center in Denver.