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Mayor Calls Zoning Dispute a Clerical Error

Village awaits court order from federal judge on what to do next.

Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar said Tuesday that the zoning dispute between the village and a local church is nothing more than a "scrivener's error" and that the federal judge who ruled against the village did so without reviewing all of the village's historical documents.

 Tuesday morning in a Chicago U.S. District Court. The decision stems from a  that alleges Bolingbrook officials discriminated against church officials' efforts to relocate to a long-vacant space inside the Bolingbrook Commons shopping center near Interstate 55 and Route 53.

The case was essentially a matter of one’s interpretation of the village’s zoning map, which is in the process of being revamped to better articulate the village's zoning regulations.

Church officials said the space was classified as B-4 commercial urban development, which would allow a church to exist in the shopping center. Village officials contended the property was classified as B-2 community retail, which prohibits churches and places of worship without a special use permit.

Claar, speaking at the Bolingbrook Village Board meeting, said the village denies it committed any wrongdoing and that the property in question is, and always was, a B-2 zoned area.

"The facts are that it was B-2, it's still B-2 and it's a shame that a scribbler's error left it off the last zoning map," he said. "The laws of this village maintain it's a B-2 zoning."

Village officials brought out eight historical zoning maps, each of which identified the Bolingbrook Commons shopping center as B-2 commercial property.

But according to state law, the map published on the village's Web site is the official map. And that map, until a few days ago—the village took the map off the Web site to address the issue—contained no such B-2 marking.

"It's unfortunate that there was a scrivener's error and eventually we will get this all resolved," Claar said.

The Village Board held a rare executive session after Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting to address the issue.

James Boan, the village attorney, said any such strategy or further action would not be made immediately available to the public.

Addressing the language of the lawsuit, Claar said most of the federal complaint was completely off base.

Claar, the complaint alleges, said Bolingbrook had enough churches and the Hinman Company—the company leasing the property—“never should have executed a lease without my permission.”

"I can guarantee you that was never said," Claar said. 

In his January State of the Village address, Claar, while announcing several new churches in town, said the more churches Bolingbrook has the better.

"I often say that if everyone in Bolingbrook was in church every Sunday morning, we would have a lot fewer problems in this village," he said Tuesday. "We welcome churches in this community ..."

Bolingbrook's zoning map—the one that leaves off the B-2 zoning for the Bolingbrook Commons area—was last updated in 2003. 

Editor's Note: In the original version of this story, the author referred to scrivener's error as a scribbler's error. We regret this mistake.

Pat Green April 13, 2011 at 01:09 PM
Does any of the documentation from Mauck show how long Bolingbrook and the church tried to sort this out before legal filings came into play? Even if Liberty jumped the gun on the lawyers, I do not understand, from a PR position, the city's position.
Alicia Taylor April 13, 2011 at 01:31 PM
BOLINGBROOK IS A VILLAGE THAT SUPPORTS ITS LOCAL CHURCHES! If you need any proof of that, simply visit the village's website (www.bolingbrook.com), where under "Village Info" and "Places to Worship" you'll find more than 40 churches listed along with contact info. And also, as demonstrated by the fact that Liberty Temple is not listed (although their services have been taken place at the Holiday Inn in Bolingbrook), there are numerous additional churches who worship within our schools every Sunday. So again, Mayor Claar and the Village Trustees not only support churches, but I've personally attended services where Mayor Claar, trustees and other elected officials have either spoken or participated in services in otherwise non-partisan and non-political manners. As a fellow Christian living and worshiping in Bolingbrook, I'm grieved. There are SO many ripe opportunities for ministry in the 30+ mile area radius between Bolingbrook and the southside of Chicago (where Liberty Temple was previously located). In a community this size, where there are 40+ churches (several that are full-gospel, serving very sizable, multicultural congregations), should there really be more churches opening, or more collaboration between the ones that are already here (such as through the Bolingbrook Clergy Association)? Time will tell, and we'll be able to judge the matter at hand by the fruit that's produced.
Cresida Kilpatrick April 13, 2011 at 07:24 PM
In response to Alicia Taylors comment, Liberty Temple is still located in Chicago, this is one of its six locations. As a ministry that has planted over 40 churches in several cities and nations, bolingbrook has been one of the worst to contend with. There is a subtle undermining and politics that you would not be aware of except you are involved in these dealings. I happen to know for a fact, that Liberty Temple attempted to rent several places and the Mayor turned all of them down and stated that bolingbrook did not need any more churches. He has been allowed to rule and rain with his own rules and this is the end of his era.
Avid Reader April 14, 2011 at 12:05 AM
I'm humming "Peace Like a River" in my head as a read this. For both ends - as the story unfolds and everybody sorts it out - I'd like calm and effective resolution. The last thing Bolingbrook needs is another fiasco in the news.
Larry Trent April 14, 2011 at 12:42 AM
The Constitution of this great country must be upheld regardless of how this mayor feels. He is not above the constitution and a federal judge proved that. As a mayor I thought he has to take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. If he can't perform his basic duties, maybe it's time for him to go.
Marianne April 14, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Why does Mayor Claar think he is above the law? I have been a citizen of Bolingbrook, Illinois for over 20 years & my kids go to Oak View Elementary School. I love to go to Liberty Temple when I don't have to work. I have noticed a lot in the past with this community. I could go deep in this conversation about the community however I won't. I just would like to see more church buildings where your able to find instead of just more retail outlets. I also agree if Mayor Claar isn't able to hold up his oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America then he don't deserve to be Mayor of Bolingbrook. If the map said that its a B-4 zoning then why would they take the map down from the website if we as a community have nothing to hide? Makes me wonder about other things of the Mayor or the City of Bolingbrook officials & what they have to hide.
Justice 2011 April 17, 2011 at 10:04 PM
Justice will prevail, because I AM is in controll not man .

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