ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Eleven businesses in the immediate vicinity of a proposed abortion clinic at 4236 Maray Drive have signed an open letter to the Rockford City Council, demanding they amend zoning regulations to stop the clinic from opening.
According to the letter, the business owners say they are worried that the abortion clinic will impact their livelihood.
“4236 Maray Drive is currently zoned C-2 Limited Commercial District, which does not allow for ‘undue traffic congestion’ or ‘detrimental impacts on neighboring properties.’ This alone should have prevented the new clinic owners from attempting to establish an abortion clinic in our neighborhood. Since this has not happened, we demand that the city council amend the C-2 Limited Commercial District zone to explicitly exclude abortion clinics.”
Dr. Dennis Christensen, a Milwuakee-based doctor who once operated an abortion clinic at 1400 Broadway, said he bought the former Animal Emergency Clinic, at 4236 Maray Drive.
The open letter continues, “At a recent meeting, the City Administrator, Todd Cagnoni, said that any alderman could make the proposal to amend the C-2 Limited Commercial District zone to explicitly exclude abortion clinics, and that the city council could then vote on the measure. We demand that one of the alderman make this proposal and the city council vote to make the zoning amendment.”
A copy of the letter obtained by Eyewitness News was unsigned. The original letter with the signatures of the 11 business owners will be submitted to the city council on Monday, October 17th.
In July, the business owners met to seek legal advice.
Kevin Rose, who owns Carpetland USA, at 326 N Alpine Road, said at the time, “We’re going to have protesters up and down the street, parking. I have semis coming in and out of my parking lot. Some of the other business owners have stated that they, already, have had issues with the protesters and [they] don’t even have a building permit for this location yet.”
At the July meeting, Alderman Frank Beach said he had received calls from nearby businesses, citing concerns over increased traffic, a lack of parking, and children from the nearby Maray KinderCare daycare, at 4345 Maray Drive, potentially being exposed to graphic protest signs.
Christensen also plans to open an abortion clinic at 611 Auburn Street.