Mayslake friary suit dismissed
The Mayslake friary was destroyed in October 2010, but a lawsuit datiing back to 2002 over rezoning of the property was just dismissed in U.S. Circuit Court. | Ruthie Hauge~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 6:41PM
After a decade in court, the Village of Oak Brook, DuPage Housing Authority and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County have agreed to dismiss a lawsuit over the old friary property at Mayslake.
The forest preserve district had intended to sell the land to the housing authority for possible development as an assisted living facility or affordable housing, but the Village Board refused to re-zone the property before any transaction could take place.
A 2002 lawsuit was filed against the village seeking the re-zoning, alleging discrimination by Oak Brook against the plans. The court sided with the village in 2008 on the discrimination charge, but the housing authority appealed.
Oak Brook Village Manager Dave Niemeyer said the parties have been in mediation for two years, which led to the resolution.
DuPage Housing Authority Board Chairman Tom Good, appointed to the position in April 2011, said he and the new board were “brought up to date” on everything with the housing authority and believed the appeal went on long enough.
“All the parties agreed to dismiss the appeal,” Good said. “We all decided enough was enough and the appropriate thing to do was dismiss the litigation. We all thought we’d be better off spending our public funds on our normal operations.”
Good said he would have never allowed the case to drag on so long, but added, “hindsight is 20/20.”
“Back when that was done, all the parties should have gone their separate ways,” Good said. “The housing authority was not pleased when they did not win the original discrimination claim seeking monetary damages and they appealed. If I were with the housing authority that long ago, I would have never suggested appealing.”
The lawsuit was dismissed by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, but the forest preserve does not know what will become of the site.
“The re-zoning on the property was approved (by the original court ruling),” said Dewey Pierotti Jr., president of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. “The appeal was for both counts; however, with the appeal dropped, that meant the zoning we sought was now valid.”
The friary building was demolished in late 2010 and plans called for it to become open space. Though nothing is imminent, the forest preserve may pursue developing the site.
“We can use it for different purposes,” Pierotti said. “It opens a pandora of different uses that we have to explore in the future.”
Oak Brook Community Development Director Bob Kallien said the property, as it sits now, is zoned conservation recreation and the village has “no zoning within the zoning book of Oak Brook” that would allow assisted living on the property.