United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
A.D., by his guardian and next friend, MARY B. VALENCIA, and INDIVIDUAL ADVOCACY GROUP, INC., an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, Defendant.
RICHARD MILLS, United States District Judge
Motion for Preliminary Injunction is pending.
Court heard oral argument on the motion on July 13, 2017, and
is now ready to rule.
first, the background.
December 22, 2016, the Plaintiffs filed a three-count
complaint alleging the Defendant City of Springfield
(“the City”) had discriminated against the
Plaintiffs on the basis of their disabilities in violation of
the federal Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988
(“FHA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631; the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. § 12131, et seq. and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. § 794(a).
January 11, 2017, the Plaintiffs filed a motion for a
preliminary injunction seeking an order enjoining the City
from enforcing an alleged discriminatory ordinance and
evicting the residents of 2328 Noble Ave. in Springfield
(“the Noble home”) while this litigation is
pending. This action was brought after Christine and Robyn
Hovey, the owners of the Noble home, were denied a
conditional permitted use (“CPU”) to allow the
owners and the Plaintiffs to operate a family care residence.
The City claimed that a family care residence at the Noble
home would have violated spacing requirements of the
Springfield Zoning Code Section 155.03.
complaint states that Plaintiff A.D. is a 62-year old adult
who is developmentally disabled and handicapped and has been
determined to be incompetent. He ambulates in a wheelchair
and is almost totally nonverbal. A.D. brings this action by
next friend and legal guardian Mary B. Valencia, his sister,
and they both reside in Sangamon County, Illinois. The other
Plaintiff, Individual Advocacy Group, Inc.,
(“IAG”), is a not-for-profit Illinois corporation
with its principal place of business in Romeoville, Illinois.
IAG provides in-home support for individuals with
disabilities. In March 2014, IAG arranged for housing for
A.D. and two of its other clients, J.M. and J.D., after the
property owners renovated the home to make it fully
accessible to the mobility-impaired residents.
City of Springfield is a city within the Central District of
Illinois that is organized under the laws of Illinois and is
a body politic and corporate, in addition to being a public
entity within the meaning of the ADA.
Noble home is a one-story ranch house that resembles other
residences in the neighborhood. From the exterior, there is
nothing that would indicate individuals with disabilities
reside in the home. There are no signs outside the house and
the staff who work there do not drive vehicles that would
identify the home as a place where people with disabilities
live. There are generally no more than one or two staff cars
at the premises, except during a shift change when there may
be three. There have not been any police, fire or emergency
calls at the home since March 2014.
Plaintiffs allege the denial of the CPU constitutes a
violation of the aforementioned federal statutes. The
Plaintiffs seek a preliminary injunction to prevent the City
from taking any enforcement action against the residents
during the pendency of the lawsuit.
City has not begun enforcement or taken any other action to
remove the Plaintiffs or other residents of the Noble home.
The City contends that its zoning ordinance with respect to
group homes does not violate any federal statutes either on
its face or intent.
Section 155.001 of the City's Zoning Code (“the
Code”), a “family” is defined as:
“One or more persons each related to one another by
blood, marriage, or adoption, or is a group of not more than
five persons not all so related occupying a single dwelling
unit which is not a boardinghouse or lodging house as defined
in this section.” Section 155.001 defines a “family
care residence” as:
single dwelling unit occupied on a relatively permanent basis
in a family-like environment by a group of no more than six
unrelated persons with disabilities, plus paid professional
support staff provided by a sponsoring agency, either living
with the residents on a 24-hour basis or present whenever
residents with disabilities are present at the dwelling.
residence that is deemed a “family care
residence” is subject to additional restrictions under
the Code. Section 155.053 applies only to family care and
group community residences and states:
In order to ensure that community residences, which operate
more effectively in residential environments, do not
adversely affect those environments through over
concentration or improper operation, no facility shall be
operated in a residence district unless: a) It is located
upon a zoning lot which is more than 600 feet from the
property line of any other such facility.
Section 155.211.1 of the Code provides that any family care
or group community residence that is not in compliance with
the 600-foot spacing requirement “may be
eligible” for a CPU after establishing the following:
(a) Petitioners shall demonstrate that the proposed location
and use will not have any adverse impact upon residents of
nearby facilities when located within 600 ...