Tonight we return to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to object to the issuance of a Permanent Occupancy Permit to Planned Parenthood—an action taken despite the zoning case we have pending in state court. On July 1, city officials quietly issued the permit, but we were watching, and immediately took action to appeal the issuance of the permit and hold the city accountable. Come for the hearing tonight at 7 p.m. at Aurora City Hall (map), or tune in here for live reports. 6:50 p.m. I’ve just arrived at City Hall. Only a couple of the Commissioners are present as yet, along with a handful of pro-lifers awaiting the commencement of the hearing. Attorney Peter Breen has just arrived as well. 7:05 p.m. The meeting has just been called to order by Chairman Margaret Truax. Rollcall finds two Commissioners missing. We have Zoning Official Ed Sieben here, too, and Corporation Counsel Alayne Weingartz. 7:10 p.m. Truax invites Peter Breen to offer a synopsis of his remarks. Breen says that our zoning appeal is “born again” here tonight, despite Planned Parenthood’s “thumbing its nose” at our arguments, which went unheard during our previous appeal. “At some point this board has to come to grips with the merits of this appeal,” Peter says. He points out that the attorneys who investigated Planned Parenthood’s approvals process never applied the correct zoning to the property.
This a pox on the city of Aurora.
—Attorney Peter Breen
“This is a pox on the city of Aurora,” Peter says, and this board is the “final line of defense” for the people of Aurora against such a pox—and this board has the authority to fix it. 7:15 p.m. Alayne Weingartz now responds. She says, in a nutshell that the ZBA has no authority to consider this appeal, as nothing new has happened (the issuance of the final occupancy permit doesn’t count, apparently), and there is a pending appeal with the Building Code Board of Appeals, which (she says) prevents this board from doing a thing. Chairman Truax then says the ZBA can go into executive session to decide what to do next if there is a motion to that affect. Commissioner Bill Bergeron so moves, seconded by Kenneth Karrels, and the Board votes in the affirmative. The Board exits, as does Weingartz, saying she’ll look for a copy machine so she can “tender” a copy of a document for Breen which he is missing. (I though “tender” an interesting choice of words for her!) 7:20 p.m. We await the board’s return. I bet Peter Breen a beer that they’re going to come back and dismiss the appeal. He refuses to take the bet. 7:25 p.m. The board returns. Linda Cole (who was the one last time to move that our appeal be dismissed), says she agrees with the City that only decisions by the Zoning Administrator can be appealed to this board; they lack the authority to take action on anything else. Cole moves to dismiss our appeal. Peter asks if he has any opportunity to respond to Cole’s remarks. Chairmain Truax says no. Bergeron seconds Cole’s motion. Truax calls for a vote to dismiss our apeal. It passes unanimously. Synopsis: So the Zoning Board of Appeals is holding fast to the Pontius Pilate role it assumed during our first appeal back in November-January. Except that Pontius Pilate did actually offer Jesus an opportunity to make his case—a courtesy this board has never extended to us. What’s next? We have our hearing before the Building Code Board of Appeals on September 10, at 5 p.m. here in the Council Chambers—another opportunity for officials of the City of Aurora to take responsibility for the debacle of Planned Parenthood’s illegal presence in our community. Stay tuned . . .