BND.com (Belleville, Illinois) (04.15.13)
Aids Weekly Plus
In a written ruling filed within the last several days, St. Clair County, Ill. Judge Robert Haida has ruled that AIDS service organization Bethany Place must halt its needle-sharing program unless it gets a special use permit from the city of Belleville. The judge ruled that Bethany Place must use its property at 821 W. A Street in Belleville in accordance with the city’s zoning code, and the nonprofit organization is located in a light-industry district. Haida wrote in his ruling that the zoning designation where the facility is located does not allow for the dispensation of medical supplies, which would include needles for intravenous use. In a lawsuit filed February 6, the city claimed it would fine the nonprofit organization $250–$1,000 for each day that it operates the needle-exchange program without the necessary permit. Bethany Place believes that the city acknowledged operation of the program when it granted the organization a use variance in 1998 to operate a small community residence with five beds for AIDS patients and office space.