* September of 2019…
Itasca plan commissioners admitted they underestimated public interest in a proposed addiction treatment center when a crowd representing 16% of the town’s population packed their meeting Wednesday night.
More than 1,300 people jammed the gym and cafeteria at Peacock Junior High School, forcing commissioners to postpone the hearing so village officials can find a venue large enough for an energized opposition group.
Demonstrators marched earlier Wednesday evening through downtown Itasca to pressure a Chicago nonprofit group to abandon plans to convert a hotel into a 200-bed drug and alcohol treatment center.
For months, resistance against the Haymarket Center proposal in the town of 8,700 has taken the form of yard signs, social media outrage, letter campaigns and matching blue T-shirts.
* Also September of 2019…
Founded almost 45 years ago, the nonprofit treatment provider is making its second attempt at opening a rehab facility in DuPage County to help meet what advocates say is a rising demand for services. Almost 100 people died from overdoses in DuPage last year. Nearly 2,000 residents from DuPage and other collar counties also were patients at Haymarket clinics from 2017 to 2018.
But Haymarket faced “not in my backyard” protests against a smaller-scale plan to operate a 16-bed satellite program in Wheaton.
More than a year after Wheaton’s city council denied their request, Haymarket leaders told Itasca officials they wanted to buy the Holiday Inn to house hundreds of patients with substance abuse disorders.
Haymarket is now meeting staunch opposition from Itasca residents who maintain their primary concerns have to do with tax revenue loss from a tax-exempt organization replacing the hotel and the potential burden placed on the village’s police and ambulance service.
* November of 2021…
More than two years after the Haymarket drug treatment center’s initial proposal to build a large rehab in Itasca was greeted with intense protest, the Village Board formally turned down the plan in a unanimous vote Tuesday.
The decision, which drew restrained applause from residents in the meeting room, came as little surprise following steady criticism from officials who say the town of 9,000 can’t afford the projected public safety costs from the 240-bed facility, meant to be housed in a former Holiday Inn hotel. […]
The story is likely not over just yet. Haymarket’s attorney said in an earlier presentation that a rejection would violate federal civil rights laws that protect people recovering from addiction, and president and CEO Dan Lustig suggested after the vote that a legal challenge might be coming.
“These types of issues might have to play (themselves) out in a court of law,” he said. “I think it’s really where important decisions like this really belong.”
* November 24, 2021 letter to Itasca’s mayor from US Attorney John Lausch…
We are writing to inform you that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois has initiated an investigation of the Village of Itasca for compliance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).1 Among other things, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including individuals with substance use disorder.
Pursuant to our authority under the ADA, the investigation is related to the zoning application of Haymarket DuPage LLC (“Haymarket DuPage”) filed with the Village of Itasca to use property to operate a treatment center for individuals with substance use and behavioral health disorders.
The Haymarket drug treatment center’s more-than-two-year attempt to open a rehab in Itasca took another turn Thursday when officials said U.S. Attorney John Lausch has launched an investigation into whether the village’s rejection of the center was in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mayor Jeff Pruyn released a letter Lausch sent last week, in which he announced the probe and noted that the ADA protects people with disabilities — including substance use disorder — from discrimination. […]
Lausch asked village officials to produce a raft of documents within the next 30 days, including zoning bylaws, internal emails related to Haymarket and any relevant communications with the local fire protection district and school systems.
The rest of Lausch’s list is here.
* Daily Herald …
When asked for comment, Haymarket leaders released a brief statement and directed any other questions to the U.S. attorney’s office.
“We welcome an investigation,” Haymarket President and CEO Dan Lustig said.
The issue of ADA compliance was raised in a June 2020 letter to village attorneys from Access Living, a Chicago-based advocacy group for people with disabilities.
Two attorneys for the group said Haymarket should have been allowed to seek a special-use permit to operate as a health care facility..