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City of Chicago v. Vaccarro

OPINION FILED MARCH 22, 1951.

THE CITY OF CHICAGO, APPELLEE,

v.

FRANK VACCARRO ET AL. — (CHARLES J. MERAS ET AL., APPELLANTS.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. D.J. NORMOYLE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE THOMPSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Appellee, the city of Chicago, on April 13, 1949, filed its petition in the circuit court of Cook County seeking to condemn ten separate parcels of land, containing in the aggregate 21 vacant lots, for the purpose of extending, expanding and improving the airport facilities of the Chicago Municipal Airport, also known as the Chicago Midway Airport. The appellants The Trust Company of Chicago, as trustee under certain trust agreements, and Basil and Julia Stevens, the owners in fee simple of parcels 3, 4, 7, 9 and 10, and the appellants Charles J. and Jane C. Meras, the owners in fee of parcels 2 and 8 were made parties defendant to the petition. A jury was empaneled and damages ascertained.

The Chicago Municipal Airport is located within the city of Chicago. It extends from West Fifty-fifth Street on the north to West Sixty-third Street on the south and from Central Avenue on the west to Cicero Avenue on the east. The terminal or administration building of the airport is west of Cicero Avenue and extends from about the middle of the block between Fifty-sixth Street and Fifty-seventh Street to the middle of the block between Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth streets. It contains ticket offices, waiting rooms, and a restaurant operated by Marshall Field & Company. The parking lot now in use as a part of the facilities of the airport adjoins the terminal building on the west side of Cicero Avenue and extends from about two hundred feet south of Fifty-sixth Street to approximately Fifty-eighth Street. All of the properties involved in the condemnation proceedings are east of Cicero Avenue, between Fifty-seventh and Fifty-ninth streets, and either front upon Cicero Avenue or upon Keating Avenue, which is the first street east of Cicero. The city owns 99 lots immediately adjoining the 21 lots sought to be condemned, and its purpose in seeking to acquire the additional lots is to consolidate and use all of the lots, both those it owns and those it seeks to condemn, as a parking lot for automobiles, in connection with the airport and as one of the facilities thereof. This parking lot will include all of the property between Cicero and Keating from the middle of the block between Fifty-fifth and Fifty-sixth streets to the middle of the block between Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth streets, except 50 feet fronting on Cicero Avenue between Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth streets, owned by Michael Caffarello and upon which he operates a restaurant. This Caffarello property the city is not seeking to acquire.

The defendants The Trust Company of Chicago, Basil Stevens and Julia Stevens filed a traverse to the petition, the 12th paragraph thereof, which was added by amendment, being as follows: "That the property being taken and proposed to be taken is being taken for a private use and not for a public use and that the property already acquired by the city is sufficient for the needs and purpose of the city for parking facilities without the taking of the property proposed to be taken in this proceeding."

On the trial of the issues tendered by the traverse, held preliminary to the hearing on the question of value, the petitioner introduced in evidence the ordinance directing that the property be acquired, a map of the property, a stipulation that the use to be made of the property will be parking areas for the parking of automobiles for a charge, a stipulation that petitioner owns 99 lots immediately adjoining the 21 lots sought to be condemned and that this condemnation proceeding is an attempt by the city to consolidate and use all of said 120 lots for parking purposes, and a lease agreement between the city of Chicago and Parking Associates' Corporation, revocable on thirty days' notice, leasing the airport parking lot on a minimum rental and percentage basis.

To prove the absence of any necessity for the condemnation of these various lots, the defendants filing the traverse offered the testimony of Charles B. McNallis, who is the assistant supervisor of the airport and, as such, has supervision of the airport parking lot, and the testimony of Martin Meyer, an architect and engineer. McNallis testified that the present airport parking lot can accommodate 722 cars, that the cars are parked diagonally, and there are driveways between each row of diagonally placed barriers to provide ingress and egress from the diagonal facilities provided for parking; that during the summer months the parking facilities are entirely utilized from one o'clock to six on Sundays, and from two o'clock to about five o'clock on Saturdays in the afternoon; that during those months automobiles have many times been turned away from the parking lot, a long line of automobiles forming on Cicero Avenue for the purpose of entering the parking lot, and that there have been such lines extending from Fifty-fifth Street all the way down; that during the winter months it depends upon the weather; that if the weather is nice on Sunday there is a full parking lot; that the peak use for other hours of the day comes about noon when people come into Field's restaurant, and the parking lot is 65 to 70 per cent filled, and then again in the evening between four and seven o'clock P.M., there is nearly the same amount, and that in the intervening hours the occupation would drop to about 40 to 50 per cent. The witness Meyer testified that the 99 lots owned by the city on the west side of Cicero Avenue, if utilized for diagonal parking with driveways for two-way traffic, would provide parking space for 870 cars, that if the driveways were for one-way traffic, the capacity would be increased to a total of 1044 cars, and if the cars were parked perpendicularly, the capacity would be increased to a total of 1460 cars.

The court found the issues on the traverse for the petitioner, and a jury was empaneled to try the issues as to the value of the property taken. Three witnesses testified for appellee and two for appellants as to the market value of the land. Two of appellee's witness placed the value per front foot of parcel 2 at $80, of parcels 8 and 3 at $75, parcels 4 and 7 at $80, and parcel 10 at $22. One of their witnesses placed the value of parcel 2 at $75, parcels 8 and 3 at $70, parcels 4 and 7 at $75, and parcel 10 at $20. None of appellee's witnesses agreed as to the value of parcel 10, one witness placing it at $18, one at $20, and one at $17. Appellants' witnesses both testified to market value of $200 per front foot for parcels 2, 8, 3, 4, and 7, and $50 per front foot for parcels 9 and 10.

The evidence shows that parcels 2, 8, 3, 4, and 7 front on Cicero Avenue and parcels 9 and 10 on Keating Avenue. Parcels 2, 3, and 4 are in the middle of the block between Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth streets. Parcel 6 lies immediately south of Fifty-eighth Street, and parcel 7 adjoins parcel 6 on the south. Parcel 8 is the third lot north of the alley running east and west in the middle of the block between Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth streets. Parcels 9 and 10 comprise all of the lots between Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth Streets which lie north of the alley running east and west in the middle of the block and east of the alley running north and south in the block. Parcel 9 has a frontage on Keating Avenue of 190 feet and lies immediately north of the east and west alley. Parcel 10, with a frontage of 60 feet on Keating Avenue, lies immediately north of parcel 9 and immediately south of Fifty-eighth Street. There are sidewalks, paving, sewer and water installed on Cicero Avenue. There is no curbing on Keating Avenue, no pavement and no water, but there is a sewer in the street, which is stub ended at the curb line.

Sol Shapiro testified on behalf of appellee that, as a real-estate broker representing the owner in the summer of 1946, he negotiated the sale of a vacant lot fronting on the east side of Cicero Avenue between Sixty-first and Sixty-second streets, the sale being for a cash consideration of $1500, which was a price of $60 per front foot.

Manny Schraiberg, a witness for appellants, testified he purchased, in the fall of 1947, a piece of property at the northeast corner of Archer and Cicero avenues, for a cash price of $40,000; that the property was vacant when purchased and that the witness was, at the time of the purchase and had been for ten years prior thereto, operating an open air market on the property; and that the property is an irregular shaped lot, lying 83 feet on Cicero Avenue, 127 feet on Archer Avenue, and tapering off to 57 feet at an alley. The map introduced in evidence as petitioner's exhibit 2 shows Archer Avenue at its intersection with Cicero to be one block north of Fifty-third Street.

Michael Caffarello testified on behalf of appellants that during 1946 or 1947 he purchased the lots on Cicero Avenue, in the block between Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth streets, on which he is operating a restaurant; that the lots are directly opposite the entrance to the airport and were vacant when he bought them; and that the price he paid was $10,000, which was $200 per front foot.

The three witnesses who testified for appellee upon the question of value, as above mentioned, were Joseph P. Lavin, Cornelius Baker and Floyd G. Dana; and the two witnesses who testified for appellant, as above mentioned on that question, were Charles V. McErlean and H.O. Lane. These witnesses were all real-estate brokers of many years experience and high qualifications.

Lavin was a real-estate broker and appraiser, had been in that business for 30 years and was familiar with the area surrounding the airport, and its ...


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