fighting Bradley Bay decision
By Eric J. Eakin
Published March 23, 2005
"We are going
So says Gerald
Phillips, lawyer for the group of residents fighting a planned expansion
of the Bradley Bay Health Center (BBHC).
decision to sue comes on the heels of a vote by the board of zoning
appeals (BZA) two weeks ago to approve a request from BBHC owner
John O'Neill for a special-use permit for independent-living suites
that will be included in the $7-million expansion planned for land
adjacent to the existing center.
That vote effectively
gave O'Neill the right to submit the project to the city to begin
the usual approval process.
"We are going
to appeal the BZA decision," Phillips said. "We think it's a travesty.
"It was apparent
at the BZA meeting that they had made up their minds prior to the
public hearing. It was an orchestrated, pre-arranged deal. The board
didn't listen to the comments of the residents, many of whom I thought
"It's a shame
they (BZA) ignored the information and wiped out the city council's
and the planning commission's decisions," he said.
Both city council
and the planning commission had earlier voted against the project.
The opposition, however, was based on the fact that the new building
contained what the city considered too many independent-living suites,
making the new structure more of an apartment building than nursing
The BZA's approval
of a special-use permit, however, trumps those earlier votes.
the group planned to file the appeal with the Court of Common Pleas
by the April 9 deadline.
"We also may
file a taxpayer action and an injunction action against the city
in the Common Pleas Court," Phillips said. "They (BZA) completely
ignored the law."
fighting expansion of this business for 40 years and they cut off
the discussion before I could tell them what I think," said Ethel
Hansen of the recent hearing held by the BZA. "I thought this was
supposed to be a public hearing. It was a kangaroo court. The fix
we are disappointed," Phillips said in the press release. "We made
valid legal arguments and the Bay law director even offered to provide
the board with a legal analysis of our view, but they declined.
It was clear they were not interested in what we had to say."
Dade said in an e-mail to the city council and Mayor Deborah Sutherland
that his outrage wasn't with the board's conclusion but with their
process. He said the group's phone calls and e-mails to the board
members went largely unanswered. He also said Phillips' legal brief
was ignored by the board, who "rushed to a vote."
the mayor and city council members to "publish a public censure
of the BZA for the outrageous treatment of the public at the Thursday