Denial of special use permit in Boone County raises eyebrows

The debate heats up at a Boone County Board meeting over a special use permit. Some say the denial of it was an act of racism.
Community members say the pledge at the meeting
Community members say the pledge at the meeting(Stephanie Quirk)
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - What started as an application for a special use permit turns into a debate among community members. Many believe the man who was denied, is being discriminated against.

Thursday night at the Boone County Board Meeting, groups of people arguing on both sides gathered to share their public comments.

According to one board member, two out of the four special use permits applied for since 2019 were approved. Both holders, are white men.

The two denied are Hispanic, one being the man who was voted down today. Many community members at the board meeting Thursday night say this decision is plainly based in racism.

On the other hand, some crowd members disagreed, saying this is what is best for the neighborhood, because the permit may run the risk of triggering traffic problems, noise and even incidents of drunk driving.

“Traffic is a big concern, with the type of roads that are there at that particular property, the farming equipment in that area,” said a public commenter against the permit, Darryl. “This will negative impact our health, and possibly even our safety.”

“If there is a problem with the road, isn’t that public works? if the roads aren’t safe, they need to be made safe,” said a public commenter for the permit, Bob Babcock. “But it just seems like there is a lack of fairness. and lack of hope in different cultures”.

The lawyer of one of the applicants denied says her client wanted to use his permit for outdoor events like weddings and birthday parties. After the boards decision tonight that is no longer an option.

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