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Lakeview residents file lawsuit to stop opening of sober living home

Residents opposed to a recovery home for young adults in Lakeview are taking the fight to court. #addiction

Residents who oppose a sober living facility for young adults in recovery in Lakeview are taking the fight to court.

Nine residents filed a complaint this week in Cook County Circuit Court, against private behavioral health organization Rosecrance, the city and the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals, appealing the ruling made by the zoning board, which approved a special-use permit to allow the project to move forward.

The zoning board in October approved the permit and issued its written ruling in December, granting Rosecrance permission to house 30 young adults for up to 18 months in a building at the corner of Ashland and Waveland avenues despite objections from some residents.

The complaint asks the court to find that the ruling was issued erroneously, in part because neighbors say they didn't have enough time to review the project and make their case that it didn't belong in the neighborhood.

Additionally, the plaintiffs want the court to reverse the zoning board's approval, send the matter back to the board and direct them to deny the permit or have another hearing.

Opponents have said the recovery home would be incompatible with the neighborhood and would have an adverse effect on traffic and property values. They also said they feared it would result in increased crime. 

Residential units would be on three floors above a counseling center, which will provide outpatient substance abuse treatment. Rosecrance is moving forward to complete the building's construction and open the counseling center this spring, which is allowed under current zoning, according to Philip Eaton, chief executive officer of Rosecrance.

"Considering the urgent need for more services to turn the tide on an epidemic of substance abuse that has claimed so many young lives in Chicago, we were disappointed in the last-minute challenge filed Monday," Eaton said in a statement.

"Meanwhile, we are undeterred in our commitment to this project, which will change the lives of young people who seek a supportive living environment as they continue their recovery."

The city's Department of Law spokesman declined to comment because the department has not yet received the complaint.

The attorney for the plaintiffs could not be immediately reached for comment.

@lvivanco  |  lvivanco@redeyechicago.com

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