Village: Sober house violates zoning


Last updated 9/11/2019 at 2:59pm | View PDF

A home for recovering alcoholics and addicts at 111 N. Grant St. violates Hinsdale’s zoning code, contends Village President Tom Cauley, and is the subject of a complaint in DuPage County Circuit Court.

The R-4 residential district in which Trinity Sober House is located stipulates that no more than three unrelated people can live in one home.

“It’s meant for families,” Cauley told The Hinsdalean last week. “While they don’t have more than three now, or at least the last time we checked, they told us their plan was to have 10.”

Trinity Sober Living LLC bought the five-bedroom, four-bath, 3,898-square-foot home for $801,000 in June. The Trinity House is a zero-tolerance facility staffed 24/7 with a dedicated house manager, a full-time certified alcohol and drug counselor and a peer recovery coach, according to the website.

Cauley said no one from Trinity shared plans to open a recovery house with the village.

“They never approached the village proactively,” he said.

Mike Owens, founder and executive director of Trinity Sober Living, has had conversations with the village, according to his attorney, Bradley Staubus of Esposito & Staubus in Burr Ridge.

“Prior to the lawsuit being filed, Mr. Owens reached out and met with the village to explain in detail his plans for TSL,” Staubus wrote in an email.

Owens is a recovering alcoholic with more than 12 years of sobriety, Staubus wrote.

“More importantly, and like so many of TSL’s clients, he is a husband, father, brother and son with family throughout our community,” he wrote. “Mr. Owens understands what it takes to manage and successfully operate a business like TSL.”

Staubus stressed the “overwhelming need for quality sober houses to serve the needs of the community” and cited research indicating an alcoholic or addict coming out of 30-day treatment is 70 percent more likely to stay sober transitioning through a sober house versus returning straight home. The company would like to accommodate the needs of 10 residents at the location and would offer a host of support services, Staubus wrote. He did not indicate how many individuals live there presently.

Cauley said if he learns more than three people are living in the house, the village could take further legal action.

“At that point I think I would try to fast-track this and get injunctive relief,” he said.

Cauley said the zoning code also prohibits the operation of a for-profit company in a residential district.

Rates for staying at the facility are listed at $375 a week for a triple room, $475 a week for a double room and $625 a week for a single.

Staubus said he hopes the lawsuit can be resolved.

“We have reached out to the attorney representing the village to determine if the parties can reach an amicable resolution, including the request for a reasonable accommodation as is required under the Federal Fair Housing Act 42 U.S.C. §3604(f)(3)(B),” he wrote.

Cauley said discrimination is not at all the issue, a point he made at a recent meeting with several dozen concerned residents.

“As I told the residents, if we had 10 nuns living there we would have a problem under the zoning code,” he said. “What we’re really trying to do here is have compliance with the zoning code.”

Author Bio

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext. 104


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