Substance treatment center considers filing lawsuit after Itasca village board rejects proposal for opening

Haymarket Center
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ITASCA, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO)-- A lawsuit is being considered after the Itasca village board rejected a proposal Tuesday that would have allowed a substance treatment center to be built in a former hotel in the village.

Haymarket Center president and CEO Dr. Dan Lustig said it may take going to court and arguing there were civil rights violations to get the treatment center open.

He said it’s surprising it took the village board only 20 minutes to deliberate over a matter that has been the subject of two years of hearings and meetings.

“For the last two years, we’ve served over 2,000 individuals from DuPage County which is why we wanted to locate out in that area. I think the need is very strong,” Lustig told WBBM Newsradio.

Lustig said Haymarket more than met Itasca’s standards for retrofitting the former Holiday Inn into a 240-bed treatment facility and that filing a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations may be the next step.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, lawyer Bridget O’Keefe, representing Haymarket, said “the Village’s rejection of Haymarket’s application would be a straight-up violation of the Fair Housing Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act."

O’Keefe added that “the Village has an obligation reasonably to accommodate Haymarket.”

Meanwhile, Lustig said the village board’s rejection sends a message to those in recovery “that they don’t matter and that their medical disorder is something to be ashamed of.”

David Venetucci lost his 23-year-old son to an opioid overdose three years ago this week.

“It’s disturbing that Itasca’s elected leaders are catering to a small but very vocal group of residents who are opposed to the proposed treatment center,” he said.

“To me, the village board’s decision smacks of a social bias, doesn’t make sense from a legal, economic, moral perspective and I’m optimistic the courts will ultimately intervene on Haymarket’s behalf and the new treatment center will become a reality," Venetucci added

A few Itasca officials argued their small village is not equipped to handle the Haymarket Center.