Evanston wins Hartrey Avenue zoning case

Manuel Rapada, Breaking News Editor

Evanston prevailed this week in a controversial zoning lawsuit involving the use of industrial property for a Jewish school.

Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov Elementary School – Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi filed the case in May 2009 after the City Council voted not to rezone a property on Hartrey Avenue for the school to be built.

Dachs sought an injunction for the project to proceed and more than $3 million in damages for alleged religious discrimination.

Cook County Judge Mary Anne Mason ruled the school did not present “clear and convincing evidence” that the city’s denial of rezoning the area was arbitrary or religiously motivated.

On the other hand, Mason found the city presented enough evidence to support its traffic and health concerns over the proposed school.

Traffic associated with the school and a loading dock for a nearby shopping center would share the same access route, according to court documents. The city maintained the project would lead to a loss of at least $100,000 in tax revenue because the school would be tax-exempt.

The city has scheduled a news conference for Monday to discuss its victory in the case.

— Manuel Rapada