(STMW) — Nuns who earlier protested the opening of a strip club adjacent to their convent in Stone Park have slapped the village and the club with a suit that seeks to yank the curtain down on the adult entertainment.
The suit claims Club Allure Chicago violates Illinois zoning law, which mandates a 1,000-foot buffer zone between adult entertainment facilities and any place of worship or school, the Sun-Times is reporting.
Since Club Allure opened in September, the Sisters of St. Charles have had to put up with “public violence, drunkenness and litter, including … empty whiskey and beer bottles, discarded contraceptive packages and products and even used condoms evidencing illicit sexual misbehavior either in the club or about its environs,” the suit alleges.
The nuns also have endured “pulsating and rhythmic staccato-beat noise and flashing neon and or strobe lights that impair the sisters’ and others’ peaceful use and enjoyment of their neighboring properties,” the suit contends.
The suit also claims the sisters were never notified of Stone Park’s hearing to rezone the property, denying them due process.
The sisters’ property includes three chapels, a home for retired nuns, a convent, their Midwestern headquarters, and a school for training new candidates to become members of the Roman Catholic congregation.
The Village of Melrose Park, which borders Stone Park, and three residents of Melrose Park are joining the nuns in the suit.
The sisters have a right to pray and work peacefully without disruption from a strip club in their backyard, contends Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society, which filed the suit.
“I know of no other municipality in the state of Illinois where they would allow a large strip club to be put immediately next to folks’ backyards and a convent of religious women,” he said.
“This is I believe is unique throughout our state where you can literally look at a swing set and 20 or 30 feet away see the rear of a strip club. This should never happen and we believe that the law prevents it from happening.”
The Village of Stone Park did not immediately return calls for comment. The village previously told the Sun-Times that before the project was approved it mistakenly sent notice of a public hearing held on the rezoning to the sisters, but at the wrong address because Cook County property records were apparently wrong.
Prior to the club’s opening, Stone Park Mayor Benjamino Mazzulla told the Sun-Times he wasn’t “a big fan” of the project and only signed on to settle a lawsuit filed by the developers against the village in 2010.
The suit also names Robert Itzkow, stating he was the owner and manager but is now believed to be a part-owner and manager. He did not immediately return a call for comment. But he previously has said the project “followed the letter and spirit of the law.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)