Recently, I am hearing about discrimination about community living for individuals
with intellectual disabilities around the state. Please let me know if this has been
something you have witnessed. I want to talk to the Attorney General’s Office
about civil right violations by local governments.
Story from the Belleville News Democrat below.
Heated debate: Belleville council, residents speak out on
group home permit
BY JACQUELINE LEE
News-Democrat August 4, 2014
Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/08/04/3334094/belleville-council-to-
BELLEVILLE — The Belleville City Council delayed a vote on granting a permit
for a group home for disabled adults in a subdivision amid opposing accusations
of a lack of communication and discrimination.
A request by TDL Group for a special-use permit to house four adults with
intellectual disabilities at 212 Turning Leaf Circle prompted a nearly two-hour
discussion at a council meeting on Monday.
After listening to residents speak heatedly about the topic and then debating
among themselves, aldermen voted 15-0 to table the issue until the next council
meeting with the understanding that all sides meet to continue the dialogue
before Aug. 18.
Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden was absent.
Tom Kennedy, an attorney representing TDL Group, said the delay will affect a
state agreement the group plans to sign this week to downsize its Belle Manor
location from 16 residents to eight.
Four of the residents who currently live at Belle Manor, another group home in
Belleville, were planning to move to a home that TDL Group owns in the Green
Mount Manor subdivision.
At least 20 residents from the subdivision attended a City Council meeting on
Monday to either speak against allowing the “community integrated living
arrangement” (CILA) or ask for more information about the proposal.
These residents wanted to know more about what a CILA is, the zoning
classifications that pertain to their neighborhood and how the Homeowners
Association contract affects the allowance of a group home.
Landon King, a resident of Green Mount Manor, circulated a petition that 40
residents signed because they could not attend Monday’s meeting.
King, and other residents such as Samantha Harpel, questioned TDL Group’s
integrity. They said the group demonstrated a lack of professionalism and
cooperation by failing to communicate and answer residents’ questions and
concerns or introduce themselves to residents as new, good neighbors.
King doesn’t understand why the group home, which he feels operates more like
a business or multi-family unit, wants to move into an area with mostly single
family homes when there are better locations for a group home in the city.
King said he plans to bring some ideas to the table when homeowners meet with
the TDL Group, but there isn’t much residents can do since TDL Group already
owns the home on Turning Leaf Circle. And, he also said there isn’t much the
group can say to get him to be in favor of the project.
About 12 people from TDL Group and residents from other cities who work with or
know people with disabilities spoke in favor of the group home. They said that
residents with disabilities want to — and deserve to — live in subdivisions like Green
Mount Manor, too.
Tonya Lindsay, owner of TDL Group, said the four adults who want to move into
the subdivision are high functioning, have jobs and are graduates of Belleville East
The four adults are not violent and are required by the state to undergo criminal
background checks before living in a group home, Lindsay said. A staff member will
also accompany the residents 24 hours a day.
Many of the residents of the subdivision said they have relatives and children who
are disabled, and their concerns and objections are not rooted in discrimination
against people with disabilities.
Still, Lynn Jarman, executive director of LINC, which works with people with
disabilities to live independently, said discrimination is what all the opposition is
Disabled adults face discrimination, too, like other minorities, Jarman said as she
turned to face some subdivision residents, who are black.
One of those residents retorted, “I know what discrimination is and that’s not it.”
Before the aldermen voted, they weighed in on the topic. For instance:
*Alderwoman-at-Large Lillian Schneider asked what would happen to the home
TDL Group owns if the council doesn’t approve the permit.
* Ward 3 Alderman Gabby Rujawitz asked homeowners if they’re willing to sit down
with TDL Group and work things out.
*Ward 3 Alderman Kent Randle asked how the Zoning Board of Appeals reached a
unanimous decision to recommend approving the permit. He cited various criteria
the board had to consider, such as if the use protects public health, safety and
welfare or if the use has a positive effect on neighboring property.
The variance is needed because the subdivision near Green Mount Road is actually
in a part of the city that has a C-4 commercial zoning district designation.
A group home in an area with single-family zoning would not have had to go before
the Zoning Board for a special use permits because small community residences
are allowed in those areas.
Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2655. Follow her on
Twitter at https://twitter.com/BNDJLee.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423