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Deerfield Pk. Dist. v. Development Corp.

OPINION FILED APRIL 26, 1961.

DEERFIELD PARK DISTRICT, APPELLEE,

v.

PROGRESS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ET AL., APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. BERNARD M. DECKER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SOLFISBURG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied June 13, 1961.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the trial court in consolidated condemnation cases on June 28, 1960, ordering that title to certain real estate vest in the petitioner, the Deerfield Park District, (hereinafter called Park District), upon their depositing the sum of $168,500 with the county treasurer of Lake County. By this appeal, defendants, Progress Development Corporation and Chicago National Bank, as trustee, (hereinafter referred to jointly as Progress), seek to set aside the judgment and overrule the motion of the Park District to strike portions of defendants' traverse or motion to dismiss. No question is raised as to the amount of just compensation for the land taken which was stipulated in the trial court.

Stripped of the epithetical rhetoric of the parties the sole question before this court is the scope and extent of the issues which may properly be submitted to the trial court in a condemnation proceeding. However, a decision of this question necessitates a review of the proceedings both in the trial court and Federal courts, together with the prior history of this controversy.

Beginning in April, 1959, and subsequent thereto, Progress acquired for residential development two unimproved tracts of real estate in the village of Deerfield, Lake County, Illinois. One tract of approximately fifteen acres became known as Floral Park Subdivision and the other tract of approximately seven acres, as Pear Tree Subdivision.

On July 8, 1959, the plat of Floral Park Subdivision was duly approved by the Deerfield village board. This plat was properly recorded on July 31, 1959, and provided for 39 residential lots. Thereafter, Progress commenced the installation of water, sewer and street improvements and the construction of two model homes with village board approval.

On September 16, 1959, the plat of Pear Tree Subdivision was approved by the Deerfield village board and was recorded on September 18, 1959. This plat provided for twelve home sites.

On December 7, 1959, the Deerfield Park Board took formal action to designate Floral Park and Pear Tree subdivisions as park sites and ordered that they be acquired by condemnation proceedings for park purposes. Plaintiffs rejected an offer of the Park Board to purchase these subdivisions for $166,199.91. In the same meeting the Park Board, by proper resolutions, provided for a referendum to be held on December 21, 1959, for the purpose of submitting to the voters of Deerfield a $550,000 bond issue, $175,000 of which was designated for the purchase of the two subdivisions owned by Progress. The remainder of the bond issue was to cover the acquisition of four other park sites of approximately 58 acres, making a total of approximately 80 acres in the six tracts.

On December 21, 1959, the bond issue referendum was held. The election carried, and the bond issue was approved by the voters.

The following day Progress, and their present corporation, Modern Community Developers, Inc., instituted suit in the United States District Court against the Park District, the village of Deerfield, and their respective boards, together with other individuals. The complaint alleged a conspiracy to deprive plaintiffs of their civil rights, and sought to enjoin the Park District from condemning the land; the village from unlawful enforcement of their building code; and further sought damages against all defendants. Progress Development Corporation v. Mitchell, 182 F. Supp. 681.

At the same time Progress and Modern sought a temporary restraining order from the United States District Court against the Park Board and the village trustees. The order was granted as to the village trustees but denied as to the Park Board. Two days later, on December 24, 1959, the Park District filed the present condemnation petition.

By agreement the condemnation proceedings were held in abeyance until hearings in the United States District Court were concluded.

On March 4, 1960, the United States District Court denied injunctive relief and dismissed the complaint of Progress and Modern and granted ...


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