Land used by Planned Parenthood requires tax-paying for-profit operation.
A controversial Planned Parenthood mega-clinic in Aurora, Ill., that was built by a front company with the acronym GOD apparently is facing an uncertain future after city officials admitted it was built under the wrong zoning requirements, and met demands that were much less strict than the zoning actually in force for the land where the 22,000-square-foot building sits.
Peter Breen, a lawyer working with the team assembled by the Thomas More Society to handle the case, said there are several issues the city will need to address at a hearing scheduled Monday, including the fact the land’s zoning requires a for-profit corporation, while
Planned Parenthood itself is non-profit, and through that status obtained more than $8 million in state bonds to build the project.
The major error in the project was confirmed by the city recently, when officials started referring to ordinance 093-124 rather than to 093-123, “which had expired and which they had been citing previously,” the law center said.
“In addition, the city cited the wrong ordinance as a basis for favorable zoning determinations in a pair of investigations undertaken by two touted zoning experts, private lawyers acting on behalf of the city, which led to Mayor Tom Weisner announcing the renewal of Planned Parenthood’s temporary occupancy permit…” the center said.
“If the proper ordinance had been cited and complied with, Planned Parenthood should never have opened,” the group said.
The project erupted into controversy when officials for a company reportedly operating as Gemini Office Development (GOD), admitted they were a front for Planned Parenthood and confirmed they concealed with identity in order to prevent the public from knowing in advance about the huge abortion business they were opening in Aurora.
The opening of the facility was held up several weeks, from September to October, for an investigation into deceptions by the abortion provider during the permitting and construction process, but the mayor eventually concluded there was no legal reason for the abortion business not to open.
Mayor Tom Weisner said although the company was not “forthright,” there were no legal grounds to keep it shut.
The project had been described as an office building throughout its permitting process. However, as WND columnist Jill Stanek reported, a pro-life construction worker on the project became suspicious of the bulletproof glass and surgical suites, components not routine in an office building.
Who gets to lie?
It was soon outed as an abortion facility, prompting protests and outrage from pro-life community members who said, as Stanek phrased it, “If citizens may lie to occupancy permit officials, may they also lie to police officers? Or at city council meetings? Where will Aurora draw the line between permissible and impermissible lies?”
Part of application papers from a front company for Planned Parenthood, indicating the occupant of its new building was ‘unknown at this time’
“At a minimum, the city of Aurora should launch an official and legal investigation, questioning the applicant and tenant under oath about statements on applications and in meetings,” she said.
“If the city does not, is something more going on, a cover-up? Did some officials know that the public documents filed and statements made by the applicant were false? Did some officials know the tenant was to be an abortion provider, but then conspired with Gemini to keep it quiet to avoid politically unfavorable publicity?”
Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, said the deception probably was the result of two issues: the fact that a Planned Parenthood clinic’s construction in Austin, Texas, earlier was delayed for months when local contractors refused to work on the project, and the general atmosphere that accompanies abortion businesses.
“What do you get when you get an abortion facility? Not only do you get dead children, the blight and underworld that comes along with that, but you also get thousands upon thousands of pro-lifers who adorn the streets with pictures of aborted children,” he told WND. “I don’t think either is good for a community.”
The tactic, however, is not isolated to the Illinois location. Newman said the same scenario developed with Denver, where Planned Parenthood recently purchased a building without announcing its presence.
“The bottom line is nobody wants an abortion facility in their community. It’s kind of like a toxic waste dump,” he said.
Tom Brejcha, of the Thomas More Society, said city officials made a major mistake in allowing the project and are trying to keep it out of the public eye. “The citizens of Aurora should be questioning what their civic leaders are trying to cover up,” he said.
Part of the cover-up by Planned Parenthood was its application for building permission for the ostensibly “for-profit” GOD project. But Breen told WND the zoning for the location is “B-B,” which is “Business Boulevard,” and does not allow non-profit health-related facilities under any circumstances.
Planned Parenthood of the Chicago area is incorporated as a non-profit, and in that status used more than $8 million in state bond funding mechanisms for the facility, officials said.
“By pretending to be building a taxpaying, for profit medical facility, GOD and Planned Parenthood evaded zoning laws that Aurora purports to enforce against its citizens, fairly and even-handedly,” the center said.
“Planned Parenthood has defied Aurora’s, laws, and the city’s current administration seems to be determined to let them get away with it,” said Brejcha.
“They have allowed a tax-exempt, non-profit abortion facility to come into Aurora illegally, without the knowledge or informed consent of the public and without the same scrutiny Aurora citizens would receive for putting up a gazebo in their backyard.”
Breen said the facility still is operating under a temporary certificate of occupancy, even though it doesn’t qualify for that under regulations because of the pending protest of its operation.
He also said the zoning issue affects the project site in other ways that may not be as easy to resolve as the for-profit, non-profit issue. For example, the zoning rules require plans for the property be given city council approval, which was not obtained before construction, and a filing of preliminary plans, which also wasn’t done.
The project also fails to comply with the 35-foot setback requirements and parking-related minimums under its city zoning. The zoning calculations require 95 oversized parking spaces for a building of that size, and there exists space for only 71, Breen said.
He said besides the issues over the zoning violations, the center is seeking to subpoena all relevant city officials for depositions in the case, and is seeking for the city to enforce its regulations regarding temporary certificates of occupancy, which would mean the abortion facility would be required to close down.
Planned Parenthood also earlier tried to influence the city’s decision by sending letters to the mayor and aldermen making accusations against the pro-life protesters opposed to its facility.
The attack came from Steve Trombley, president of Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area, who sent out a three-page letter.
According to documents assembled by Stanek, Trombley’s letter said members of the “Pro-Life Action League … have a well-documented history of advocating violence against both persons and property as well as other related criminal activity.”
However, the “documented history” was a court ruling that later was overturned – three times – by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Oh my, if that doesn’t scream libel lawsuit, I don’t know what does,” Stanek wrote on her blog. “Here, Trombley unmistakably accused [pro-lifers] of commandeering violence.”
[7Jan08, Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily.com Exclusive]