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error" and that the federal judge who ruled against the village did so without reviewing all of the village's historical documents.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.