A circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday blocking City Council discussion Monday of the special use request from Connections for the Homeless to continue operating the Margarita Inn as a homeless shelter.

The request for the restraining order was made by attorneys for Cameel Halim, who owns two properties on the Oak Avenue block where the Margarita is located, at 1566 Oak Ave.

Halim says he filed the lawsuit because the Land Use Commission mistakenly denied his statutory right to a continuance of its hearing on the special use request, and then the City Council refused to correct that mistake.

Halim’s attorney, Alan Didesch, says Circuit Judge Neil Cohen ruled that the right to a continuance was guaranteed not only by the city’s zoning code, but also by procedural due process protections of the state and federal constitution.

Evanston Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings confirmed to Evanston Now this evening that the temporary restraining order had been granted this afternoon, but said he had not yet received a copy of it.

“I expect that it means the ordinance regarding the special use permit will be taken off Monday’s agenda,” Cummings said.

He said next steps regarding the special use permit have “yet to be determined.”

Judge Cohen has scheduled a hearing on whether to continue the injunction against the city for March 2.

Halim says he “had no desire to file this lawsuit,” but that the city would not listen to his multiple pleas to be heard.

Halim says he also disputes the claim of Mayor Daniel Biss that the “Good Neighbor Agreement” the mayor signed with Connections “has overwhelming neighborhood support — when it fact it does not.”

And he argues that proposed conditions the city is attaching to the special use request “are essentially meaningless and legally unenforceable.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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