CHICAGO — A Cook County judge denied a temporary restraining order late Thursday aimed at halting city approval of a Jefferson Park storage warehouse while a group of neighbors sues to stop its construction.
Filed last week on behalf of the newly-formed neighborhood nonprofit Northwest Side Unite, the lawsuit claims that the proposal for the 75-foot building was born of an "illegal process" that bypassed traditional regulatory rules.
The proposal sailed through the Chicago Plan Commission on March 16, but it didn't withstand a marathon meeting of the City Council's zoning committee on March 27, when Ald. Ed Burke (14th) stepped in to block its approval. Citing concerns over the Jan. 27 settlement agreement that formed the basis for the plan, Burke called for a vote when the committee lacked a quorum, forcing the body to adjourn.
Following a hearing Thursday morning, Judge David B. Atkins denied the plaintiffs' injunction meant to hold up the approval process until the lawsuit is settled, according to court records.
That decision "wasn't unexpected," according to attorney Peter Stasiewicz, who represents Northwest Side Unite. He had filed the injunction with the expectation that the zoning committee would hear the proposal Wednesday, but its delay meant that the matter was no longer an "emergency," he wrote in a statement Friday.
The plaintiffs allege that the facility would cause "irreparable harm" to its immediate neighbors by challenging "the right to the enjoyment of their property," Stasiewicz has said.
"We’re looking forward to reaching the merits of this case, on which we believe we’re likely to prevail," the attorney wrote Friday.
The plaintiffs will likely ask for another temporary restraining order after the proposal passes zoning, he added.
Arena wrote in a Friday Facebook post that he "won't be bullied out of doing the right thing for our veterans and the disabled, and we are confident that this proposal stands on firm legal ground."
The lawsuit's next hearing is set for May 16, one week after the proposal's date with the zoning committee.
The city's law department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.