Owners of land adjacent to school football stadium brought action against school district and board of education, alleging that the bleachers were constructed pursuant to a district decision that violated municipal zoning and stormwater ordinances. The Board brought a third-party action against city and superintendent, seeking declaratory judgment that bleacher project was not subject to such ordinances. The Circuit Court entered judgment finding that project was subject to ordinances, and the Board appealed. The appellate court held that as a matter of apparent first impression, constitutional provisions tasking state government with provision of public education did not preclude enforcement of municipal zoning ordinances against school district and board of education, and that pursuant to School Code, the board was required to follow city zoning ordinances. Specifically, the court noted that with respect to provisions in the State Constitution, regulatory power leans toward home-rule municipalities and away from school districts where a conflict arises. School districts, said the court, are not afforded home rule powers. Further, in reviewing the statutory language, the court noted that school districts are specifically authorized “[t]o seek zoning changes, variations, or special uses of property held or controlled by the school district.” Therefore, the court concluded that school districts are subject to municipal zoning ordinances, also noting that school districts do not possess authority to make zoning changes on their own.
Gurba v Community High School District, 2014 IL App. 2d 140098 (9/3/2014)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2014/2ndDistrict/2140098.pdf