Tinley Park poised to take on DOJ
Tinley Park authorized its attorneys to defend the village against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) allegations of Fair Housing Act violations last week. The DOJ filed a civil lawsuit on Nov. 23.
“Village attorneys are diligently preparing to defend the village and have made a tremendous effort thus far,” Tinley Park Mayor Dave Seaman said. “The village board and I will provide aggressive leadership on this matter on behalf of all the citizens of Tinley Park.”
The lawsuit stems from the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation project called "The Reserve." The 47-unit complex, located just outside of the village downtown, was intended for low-income tenants. Residents of the village objected to the complex. Some of the objections were race-based.
While the project met the village's building requirements -- and, under its zoning ordinances, should have been approved -- the community's objections allegedly led to the trustees' request that the Plan Commission table the project. The project has remained stalled.
“The Fair Housing Act requires that cities make housing-related zoning and land use decisions based on the merits -- not on race,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, said when the lawsuit was filed. “When discrimination interferes with the housing and zoning approval process, entire communities suffer.”
Village attorneys plan to ask that the case be dismissed on grounds that the federal government has no standing in the case.