LAKEVIEW — After months of debate in the neighborhood and a lengthy zoning meeting, Rosecrance Lakeview was given the go-ahead to open its residence for recovering addicts next spring.
Rosecrance officials called the victory "an important fair housing decision that will have a significant impact in Chicago."
The Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously ruled Friday night to approve Rosecrance's special use permit for an addiction recovery residence at 3701 N. Ashland Ave. Rosecrance said it expects to open the sober living apartments and first-floor counseling center in the spring.
Tunney said Thursday he would tie his support to four conditions, two of which Rosecrance said it could not agree to. The nonprofit said it would violate fair housing laws to cap the number of recovering residents below capacity and place a two-year expiration date on the permit.
Despite the impasse, Tunney did not withdraw his support Friday.
"I believe they can do the job, [and] I believe the need is there. But I also believe there needs to be some checks and balances because it is a new and, I believe, lucrative market in Chicago they're entering for the first time," Tunney said at a nearly eight-hour zoning hearing.
It was unclear Saturday whether Rosecrance will still finalize its Good Neighbors Agreement with Tunney or if it will be tied to the special-use permit. The agreement was an attempt to compromise with neighbors, giving them a source of recourse should the new residents disturb the neighborhood.
Both Rosecrance and neighbors opposed to the project laid out lengthy cases on Friday, bringing in thick binders of evidence and multiple experts to detail the impact the facility would have on the neighborhood.
The Lakeview Action Committee — which raised tens of thousands of dollars for legal support and gathered 1,000 signatures opposing Rosecrance's proposed location — cited fears of dropping property values, public safety and nuisance issues among their chief concerns.
Nora Schweighart testified for the group Friday, but the board grilled her on why she felt the recovery residence would operate differently than domestic violence shelters, single-room occupancy hotels or vacation rentals.
The board also questioned whether Rosecrance was fully prepared to open its first recovery home in Chicago and why it has selected Lakeview for the location.
In the end, the board ruled in Rosecrance's favor.
"I want to express my sincere appreciation for the support of the many individuals and organizations that stood with us in this fight, especially those who took the day off work to attend the hearing, who rallied supporters ... and who joined forces with us," said Rosecrance CEO Philip Eaton.
Tunney and the Lakeview Action Committee were not immediately available for comment.
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