There are legal issues, too, said attorneys with the Thomas More Society, a Catholic group.
Mr. Breen told the Stone Park Village Board that his public-interest law firm has identified a state law that calls for a 1-mile “buffer zone” between adult entertainment facilities and “places of worship.”
He argued that the location of the Get It club next to the nuns’ home is therefore not legal and that construction on the business must be stopped.
His organization has offered the village free legal help in opposing Mr. Itzkow, but thus far it has not taken the offer.
“We contend that state law is pretty clear,” he said. “That the 1,000 feet [buffer zone] applies. We’ve asked the village for an interim step to put a hold on the permit process and take some time to examine the state law. The village doesn’t want to do it. We really want to see very concrete actions.”
The town will allow Mr. Breen’s attorneys through Freedom of Information Act requests (FOIA) to keep daily track of the permit process in advance of the club’s opening, which is on track for sometime this spring.
Mr. Breen said town residents also are “very much upset,” noting that “even apart from the religious aspect, there are literally residential homes that back up to that facility. There is a swing set right next to it.”
The club has been in dispute with the city for more than two years. Twice the village’s board voted against it, but Mr. Itzkow filed a lawsuit, arguing that zoning laws allowed him to build there.
He also accused town officials of a shakedown, demanding money and a cut of the profits in exchange for the right to build his club.
The lawsuit was later settled in 2010, with town leaders granting permission to build and saying the legal expense to fight the club was financially prohibitive.
Within the settlement agreement, the town’s own buffer-zone-ordinance restrictions, between adult entertainment establishments and schools, parks, churches, and residential areas, were voided, actions that Mr. Breen calls the village “giving away the store.”
Others in this blue-collar community, struggling to shake off its seedy past, which has included prostitution, gambling and alleged mob activity, are outraged by Mr. Itzkow’s venture.
A candlelight vigil is planned for Thursday as area residents take to the street in protest.
Stone Park Mayor Ben Mazzula did not return a call for comment on the dispute.
Mr. Breen said his group does not plan to give up its defense of the sisters’ professed right to live without exposure to such a business.View Entire Story
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