Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 11, 2017

IL Appellate Court Finds Village Lacked Standing to Challenge Neighboring Village’s Zoning Reclassification

Willow Springs sought to enjoin its neighboring village, Lemont, from approving a zoning reclassification and a proposed property development. The circuit court dismissed the complaint, finding that Willow Springs lacked standing to contest the zoning reclassification, which had been approved by the time of the circuit court’s ruling, and lacked standing at that time to challenge the remainder of the development application which Lemont had not yet approved. On appeal, Willow Springs argued it had standing to seek injunctive relief because it alleged that the proposed zoning reclassification and development of the Grant Road property would cause substantial, direct, and adverse injurious effects to its corporate capacity. Willow Springs further alleged that its claims were ripe because Lemont formally withdrew its ripeness argument with respect to the zoning reclassification when it approved that change.

Willow Springs specifically argued that the kinds of harm it would suffer were decreased tax revenue due to lower property values, increased municipal expenditures for road repairs, and lower air quality. In response, Lemont submitted evidence in support of its section 2-619 motion that demonstrated that the zoning reclassification did not represent any change to the status quo but instead was in line with both the current use of the property and its zoning prior to annexation. The court noted that allegations that related to the affirmative matters raised in the 2-619 motion, are not taken as true for purposes of ruling on a motion to dismiss. Therefore, since Willow Springs offered nothing more than conclusory allegations in its complaint, the court found there was nothing to support the claim that the zoning reclassification would cause a burden to it as a neighboring municipality.

As to its public nuisance claim, Willow Springs alleged that “property values will diminish,” that “tax revenue will be lost,” and that “roads will be more congested.” In making these claims, the court found that Willow Springs had only alleged a possibility of future harm that was dependent on the specific ways in which the property might be used. Here, the proposed new facilities at the Grant Road property were not yet operational, nor were they constructed, or even approved for construction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the circuit court’s holding dismissing Willow Springs’ claim for injunctive relief.

The Village of Willow Springs v Village of Lemont, 2016 IL App (1st) 152670 (IL App. 12/19/2016)

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