TLC lawsuit settlement with Elgin leading to temporary use ordinance changes
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org @DanaheyECN February 24, 2014 3:44PM
The TLC mobile pregnancy testing unit that led to a lawsuit with the city of Elgin last year, and a recent settlement between the organization and the city. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: February 25, 2014 2:24AM
ELGIN — The city council Wednesday night is to vote on amending an ordinance that had been the subject of a lawsuit settled last month with pro-life organization The Life Center Inc.
That settlement included the dismissal of the lawsuit, the city agreeing to provide for certain amendments to its temporary use regulations, and the city paying attorneys’ fees and court costs.
Elgin Corporation Counsel William Cogley said the settlement was for $280,000, which covered a portion of TLC’s legal costs.
According to a Jan. 29 memo from Cogley to Elgin’s Planning and Zoning Commission provided by city staff, the amended rules would “allow temporary uses conducted by not-for-profit corporations or associations at which services are provided entirely within an enclosed vehicle for no more than one day per week, no more than 8 hours during any day, and no more than 52 days on the same zoning lot within a calendar year.”
“Intermittent temporary vehicle use would be limited to the providing of services only and shall not include the sale of any merchandise, goods, supplies, equipment or materials. Other conditions include that the use must be a permitted or accessory use in the zoning district in which it is to be located, setbacks for temporary uses must be maintained, intermittent temporary vehicles uses may only be located within a lawfully established off-street parking facility in a manner that does not interfere with ingress or egress to such off street parking facility, no more than one intermittent temporary vehicle is allowed per zoning lot within a calendar year and compliance with other applicable codes and ordinances. There would be no fee for not-for-profit corporations or associations for a permit for same,” the memo states.
The proposal would allow TLC to operate its mobile ultrasound one day a week at a site throughout the calendar year.
The rules would apply to all nonprofit groups offering services, from bookmobiles to mobile blood banks.
The city had been in court appealing a ruling by U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan in a case brought by The Life Center Inc., operating as TLC Pregnancy Services, centering on a city council amendment to Elgin’s zoning regulations that was passed in June 2012. It classified TLC’s mobile facility and a number of other mobile operations as a “temporary land use” and limited such to only four uses per year at any one location, by permit and to fees for such setups.
The suit was filed on behalf of TLC by the firm Mauck & Baker in federal court in early March of last year and claimed that zoning restrictions put in place by Elgin restricted women from getting TLC’s services from its mobile unit parked at two locations near Larkin High School.
Der-Yeghiayan ruled in August that Elgin was permanently enjoined from enforcing the temporary use provision of its zoning regulations, a move that allowed The Life Center to continue to offer its mobile pregnancy services while the suit made its way through the court system.
U.S. Court of Appeals Judges Kenneth Ripple, Ann Claire Williams and Diane Sykes in December rejected Elgin’s motion to halt the lawsuit.