BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) – A judge in southwestern Illinois has ruled that an AIDS service organization must halt its needle-exchange program until it gets a special zoning permit from the city.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert Haida ordered that Bethany Place’s property will have to conform with Belleville’s zoning code.

The city sued in February, believing Bethany Place’s needle-exchange program violates the type of operations allowed for that site under the city’s zoning codes.

Bethany Place responded last month, arguing the city waited too long to complain.

Haida ruled that Bethany Place’s existing zoning designation doesn’t allow for dispensing medical supplies, particularly needles for intravenous use.

The organization calls the city’s move unfair and prejudicial to clients served by the program.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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