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updated: 2/26/2014 11:38 PM

Lawsuit yields new Elgin regulations

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Elgin residents might see more vehicles offering mobile blood donation, diabetes testing and other services parked around town after the city council approved new regulations Wednesday night.

The changes are part of last month's settlement of a federal lawsuit filed in March 2013 by Life Center Inc., operating as TLC Pregnancy Services.

The city council approved the changes in a 8-0 vote. Councilman Rich Dunne was absent.

Under the new rules, temporary vehicles operated by nonprofit agencies that provide services within the vehicle -- including diabetes testing, voter registration and more -- can operate for eight hours a day, once a week, for no more than 52 days a year and always at an off-street parking location.

TLC, a faith-based organization that promotes "pro-life issues, the family and Christian living," provided free weekly ultrasound services from a mobile facility parked at JB's Pub and the Evangelical Free Church of Elgin.

In fall 2012, city officials ordered TLC to stop, saying the ultrasound facility broke a city law that classified it as a temporary use allowed only up to four days per year.

TLC and the city settled the lawsuit last month. As a result, the city created the new "intermittent temporary use" category.

The city agreed to pay $280,000 in TLC's attorney fees as part of the settlement. Additionally, the city incurred approximately $250,000 in legal costs, Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal said.

Elgin Mayor David Kaptain said it's in the best interest of the community to "turn the page."

Before the lawsuit, the city and TLC always had a good relationships, TLC Board Chairman John Juergensmeyer said.

"It was very unpleasant to have a disagreement, but we've resolved it," he said. "We're back as good friends and close companions."

Also under the new rules, nonprofit agencies will no longer have to pay a $190 permit fee.

Community Development Director Marc Mylott said staff plans to recommend a reduction of the fee for everyone else to $100.

Councilman Toby Shaw, who said he contributes to TLC, said that in the future, the city council should be informed sooner when organizations have complaints.

"Bad legislation isn't always unconstitutional. Sometimes bad legislation is just bad legislation, and it needs to be pointed out," Shaw said.

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