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Opponents say clinic didn't obtain permits
By Amy Boerema | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 9/26/2007 12:17 AM

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Planned Parenthood failed to obtain a required special use permit, further proof of their deception to the city, clinic opponents told aldermen Tuesday.

Any nonprofit health-related facility must receive a special use permit, city code states, which would have required alerting nearby property owners of the clinic and holding a public hearing.

The latest development, discovered Tuesday, shows the clinic's entire application process was illegal, opponents said.

The far east side center applied for city permits as Gemini Office Development, which is a subsidiary of Planned Parenthood.

Gemini is a limited liability corporation, meaning it was not required to obtain a special use permit.

Clinic officials reiterated Tuesday they have done nothing illegal. They complied with all required public disclosures, they have said, but they did keep their project quiet because they feared harassment and intimidation by protesters.

The special use discovery was made public by clinic opponent Vince Tessitore, who also is a local zoning attorney.

The process for receiving a special use permit includes alerting all property owners of the business within 250 feet of the site, holding a public hearing and publishing a hearing notice in a local paper.

"They have done none of these things," Eric Scheidler, spokesman of Chicago's Pro-Life Action League, told aldermen. "I call upon the city to ... order Gemini/Planned Parenthood to demolish the unlawfully constructed building at 3051 E. New York St."

These concerns will be forwarded to Kane County State's Attorney John Barsanti, who already is reviewing the permit process, city leaders said.

The purpose of the city's outside review is to determine whether the clinic's process was legally followed, city spokesman Carie Anne Ergo said.

"We would hope these questions will be answered by that," she said.

Steve Trombley, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said Tuesday it's time for the never-ending reviews of their permit process to come to an end. The latest development is another example of "political football," he said.

Every day their center remains closed, more women are going without much needed health care, he said.

"We want to be clear we will stop at nothing to open this center," he said.