Lydia Apartments appeal coming

Lydia Apartments opponents will take their battle to the state Court of Appeals, their attorney said.

Mike Freeman, who represents a group called Citizens for a Balanced City, said he would file the appeal by mid-March and had already notified the Plymouth Church Neighborhood Foundation and the city.

Hennepin Court District Court Judge John McShane ruled in favor of Lydia Apartments Jan. 29, dismissing a lawsuit by the citizens group, who say the foundation's project overconcentrates supportive housing in their neighborhood.

The decision upheld city approvals. The lawsuit sought to force the city to enforce its ordinance requiring quarter-mile spacing between supportive housing facilities.

Lydia Apartments, 1920 LaSalle Ave., is a planned 40-unit apartment building with supportive services for recently homeless people with disabilities, including chemical dependency, mental illness or HIV/AIDS.

Freeman said McShane viewed Lydia Apartments House as merely an apartment building with some services. "He tried to say it was different than transitional housing and the other kinds of housing entities that are part of the quarter-mile spacing ordinance. We think it is fundamentally wrong," Freeman said.

The foundation and city argued that enforcing the ordinance would discriminate against the disabled people the apartments would serve and violate the Federal Fair Housing Act amendments.