IL: Clarendon Hills Orders Work Stopped On Sober House

The Patch News –

The same group fought Hinsdale to run a home for those with addictions.

CLARENDON HILLS, IL — The Clarendon Hills government has received an “unprecedented” number of calls about the plan for a sober house for women with addictions, the village said last week.

In a statement Friday, the village said it inspected the planned sober house property at 359 Ruby St. and found that an ongoing construction project required a building permit. The village ordered the work to stop until a building permit was approved.

In Hinsdale, Trinity Sober Living, which plans the Clarendon Hills house, faced opposition after it opened a sober house for men with addictions in July 2019. The village tried to close the house, contending it violated zoning.

But a DuPage County judge ruled against the village. Late last year, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Hinsdale, saying it violated the Fair Housing Act in trying to close the sober house. In November, Trinity closed the Hinsdale sober house and opened a new, larger one in Bensenville.

In Clarendon Hills, the village said in its statement that it was made aware last Thursday of an ad in which Trinity advertised for a house manager at the Ruby Street property.

The village said it would continue to monitor the sober house situation.

“In this and every case, the Village will apply our codes and regulations in an equitable and consistent manner,” the statement read.

Unlike Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills has a section of its code devoted to group homes, both small and large. A larger group home such as Trinity’s requires a conditional use permit in a residential neighborhood, a process that includes a public hearing.

In an email to Patch on Monday, Michael Owens, Trinity’s executive director, said Clarendon Hills was responding to the anger of neighbors. He said he probably fielded about a dozen or so calls from neighbors late last week.

Owens said Trinity would seek a conditional use permit, so it can have 10 residents.

As for the work in the house, he said the homeowner wanted to finish the basement while Trinity rented the home.

“They are responsible for any work permits, and they are working with the Village now to obtain a permit,” Owens said. “The homeowners have been painted in a very negative light by the neighbors. However, they are very good people! They have been supportive and thoughtful for our mission.”

According to the Zillow website, the Ruby Street house had been listed for $1.8 million, but was not sold.

In Hinsdale, the village said the sober house violated the village’s rule for single-family zones — no more than three unrelated people in a house. The federal government maintains such a violation would essentially ban all group homes for people with disabilities.

In its fight in DuPage County Court, Hinsdale contended a group home is a commercial operation that violates single-family residential zoning. However, Hinsdale abandoned that argument shortly before federal prosecutors sued, according to the Department of Justice’s lawsuit.

Hinsdale denies it violated anyone’s Fair House Act rights. In late January, it responded to the federal lawsuit.

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Tags: Legislation Sober Homes

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