BELLEVILLE — An AIDS service organization will have to stop its needle-exchange program unless it gets a permit from the city, according to a judge's ruling.
Bethany Place will have to use its property at 821 W. A St. in accordance with the city of Belleville's zoning code, St. Clair County Judge Robert Haida said in a written ruling filed last week.
The nonprofit is located in an area zoned as a light-industry district.
"The court finds that a special-use permit has not been issued to the defendant for the purpose of operating a needle-exchange program at the defendant's facility...," Haida wrote.
The zoning designation does not allow dispensing medical supplies, particularly needles for intravenous use, Haida wrote.
In a lawsuit filed Feb. 6, the city said it will fine the agency $250 to $1,000 for each day it operates the program.
Bethany Place believes the city allowed the program when it granted the agency a use variance in 1998 to operate a small community residence with five beds for AIDS patients and office space.