Belleville

August 18, 2014

Belleville Council approves permit for group home

Four adults with intellectual disabilities will soon move into a subdivision off Green Mount Road now that the Belleville City Council approved a special use permit for the group home on Monday.

After the 9-6 council vote, some Green Mount Manor subdivision residents said they still want to hire an attorney to inform them of their rights to fight the group home's placement in the subdivision.

Paul Dutton, a board member of the subdivision's Homeowners Association, said he also wants to probe further into the history of TDL Group, the business that will provide 24-hour care at the home.

Dutton said it is unclear whether TDL Group has to abide by the Homeowners Association covenant when purchasing the home on 212 Turning Leaf Circle. He also wants to know if the home is in compliance with building codes, and if any exterior or interior modifications have to be made to the single-story house.

When asked about residents' concerns, Tonya Lindsey, owner of TDL Group, said the home will follow all Illinois Department of Human Services regulations.

"We're very happy it was approved and we'll do our best to reach out to neighbors and alleviate their concerns," Lindsey said of the council's vote Monday night.

Lindsey said TDL Group has not set a date for the four residents to move into the community integrated living arrangement.

Aldermen voted on the issue after hearing from six residents during public participation and discussing the matter in executive session for about 45 minutes.

The city's attorneys and an attorney for TDL Group previously asked city leaders to consider the federal Fair Housing Act when making a decision on the permit issuance.

Aldermen who voted not to follow the Zoning Board's recommendation to approve the special use permit were: Ward 2 Alderwoman Melinda Hult, Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden, Ward 6 Alderman Bob White, Ward 7 Alderman Trent Galetti, Ward 8 Alderman Joe Orlet and Alderwoman-at-Large Lillian Schneider.

Ward 1 Alderman Mike Heisler was absent.

White said his "no" vote is because TDL Group did not act in good faith by purchasing a home in a subdivision knowing they would violate the Homeowners Association's covenant.

Schmidt said the four disabled residents have a right to live in a home of their choosing.

The group home only needs a special use permit in this case because the subdivision was built as a planned unit development in an area that has a commercial zoning.

"Anywhere else in this city, we would not be having this discussion," Schmidt said.

The four disabled residents are currently living in Belle Manor, another TDL group home in Belleville, and neighbors have no complaints about the home or residents, Schmidt said.

Before the vote to approve the permit, Schneider asked to postpone the vote by a month so aldermen and residents have more time to get answers to their questions.

For instance, residents continue to question the impact on the subdivision's property values and future zoning requests based on approval of this case.

At a Aug. 4 council meeting, aldermen delayed a vote on the issue so that subdivision residents could meet with TDL Group to sort out concerns and misunderstandings. The two sides did not meet.

Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at jlee@bnd.com or 618-239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.

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