2 buildings in chicago owned by the group violate city ordinances, officials say
The city of Chicago is taking a religious group with Dubuque-area ties to court today because of several zoning violations.
Love Holy Trinity Blessed Mission has been operating a church and a community center without a special use permit, according to the municipal complaint filed by the city. In addition, the group did not obtain proper permits for two large identifying signs on its buildings and has not provided enough off-street parking, city officials said.
Love Holy Trinity and North Star Trust Co. are the defendants in the court action. The first court date is set for 9 a.m. in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., in the Daley Center.
The subjects of the complaint are a pair of two-story brick buildings at 7011-17 West Diversey Ave., Chicago, where the group has established its headquarters, a “communications center” and “The School of the Saints.”
The trouble is that the complex is located in a B1-1 Neighborhood Shopping District. Operation of a church in this district requires a special use permit from the city’s zoning board of appeals, as does the operation of a community center.
Court documents say that in one of the buildings, “the first-floor interior was arranged as a church, with an altar and approximately 70 seats.” The building’s basement was “arranged as a large meeting hall or dining room,” the complaint continues.
The city is seeking an injunction against the group to stop using the building as a church and community center or be fined $1,000 per day per offense.
In addition, the city wants the group to provide one parking space for every eight seats in its church and one parking space for every three community center employees with more parking and drop-off spaces. It seeks $1,000 per day in fines for continued violations.
The city also wants the group to get a permit for the two signs, which have now been removed. One of the signs said the group was “within the Catholic Church” but in September, the Archdioceses of Chicago and Dubuque both ruled that the group was not approved by the Catholic Church.
Chicago officials are asking the court for a permanent injunction against the group in all the violations, claiming that the defendants are creating a public nuisance.
Love Holy Trinity Blessed Mission started 13 years ago in Chicago and the Tri-state area with Bible study and prayer groups. It now has been banned from using church facilities in four dioceses in three states. The group has purchased a number of properties in Dubuque as well as a large farm south of Bellevue, Iowa.
Phone calls to the group were not returned Thursday.