Local group files lawsuit, appeals zoning permit for potential abortion clinic

A proposed abortion clinic could soon open in Rockford
A proposed abortion clinic could soon open in Rockford
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 12:35 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Rockford Family Initiative and three individuals filed an appeal against the Rockford Zoning Office, regarding the zoning determination for the potential abortion clinic on 611 Auburn Street, according to it’s president Kevin Rilott.

In a press release sent to 23 News, Rilott claims the proposed abortion business has not met the legal requirements to open. In the appeal, the claim includes:

1. The request for certification was not accompanied by a plat legally recorded under the laws of the State of Illinois and Winnebago County giving a legal description, and the request for certification was not accompanied by a plot plan.

2. The location of the abortion business is not zoned for commercial use, and there is no active special use permit allowing it’s use. The location owner, Dennis Christensen, has not applied for a special use permit, and the city of Rockford has not independently reviewed whether use of the location as an abortion business will “endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort, or general welfare”.

3. Furthermore, the City of Rockford has not reviewed whether the abortion business will:

a. ”have special impacts [or] potentially adverse effects on the neighborhood surrounding the site”;

b. ”create significant noise, traffic, environmental, or other impacts that may be objectionable”;

c. ”have significant visual [and] traffic impacts”;

d. ”diminish property values”;

e. ”impede the normal or orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property”; and

f. ”[be] compatible with the existing character of the area.”

4. The owner, Dennis Christensen, has not been issued a home business permit.

5. The Rockford Zoning Ordinances expressly prohibit the abortion business from:

a. Employing non-residents of the home; and

b. Operating as a medical clinic at its current location

Dr. Dennis Christensen, the Madison doctor who owns the site on Auburn Street, told 23 News a special-use permit granted from the city in 1982, allows for the opening of the facility, as long as the clinic’s operator lives there with one non-family member, as an employee. The city said based on a letter sent by his attorney that included details on how the property will be managed, the business can run under that permit.

An official from the city of Rockford sent in a statement to 23 News, “We have received an appeal of the City Zoning Officer’s determination related to the property at 611 Auburn Street. We will follow the processes and procedures set forth by our zoning ordinances for this matter.”