Appeal from the County Court of Kankakee county; the Hon.
IRWIN C. TAYLOR, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.
Rehearing denied June 5, 1961.
This appeal arises from an order of the County Court of Kankakee County finding a petition for annexation to conform to Article VII of the Revised Cities and Villages Act, (Chap. 24, Sect. 7-1 et seq., Ill. Rev. Stat. 1957), and directing the question of annexation be submitted to the corporate authorities for final action.
The petition filed pursuant to Sect. 7-2, described the territory by metes and bounds and asked that it be annexed to the Village of Bradley, Illinois. The petition further alleged the territory is not within the boundaries of any city, village, or incorporated town; is contiguous to the corporate limits of the Village of Bradley; and that petitioners represent a majority of owners of record of land in said territory, owners of record of more than fifty percent of the land in said territory, and a majority of electors residing in said territory.
The petition was signed by 269 persons, some of whom described themselves as owners of land within the territory described in the petition, some of whom described themselves as electors residing in such territory, and some of whom described themselves as both owners and electors. In each case the signer set forth in the petition the property owned, or resided upon by lot and block description. The signatures of four additional petitioners were affixed to the petition by authorized persons other than themselves.
The petition was supported by the affidavits of three of the petitioners stating that the signatures attached constitute a majority of owners of record of land in the territory, owners of record of more than fifty percent of said land, and the signatures constitute a majority of the electors residing in the territory described in the petition.
Appellant-objector, Bernard Benoit, filed his objections to the petition stating, (1) the petition is not signed by the requisite number of electors or property owners of record, (2) the description of the territory is inadequate, and (3) the described territory includes lands within the City of Kankakee.
The City of Kankakee also filed its objection to the petition alleging that the territory described in the petition included certain lands within the City of Kankakee, that said lands are located on the perimeter of the described territory, and requesting that said lands be excluded from any order of annexation if entered as provided for by Subsection (4) of Sect. 7-3.
On January 2, 1960, a hearing was had upon the petition and objections thereto. Following the provision of Sect. 7-4, the court, prior to hearing evidence on the validity of the annexation petition, heard the objection of the City of Kankakee relative to its lands located on the perimeter of the territory to be annexed and found the objections to be valid and ordered the petition "be amended therewith". The court then called for a hearing on the objections of Bernard Benoit. The petition as amended by order of court was offered in evidence and received without objection.
A stipulation of facts was entered into by the parties which provided inter alia, (1) Territory described in the original petition 2,625,326 square feet, (2) Land owned by persons who signed the original petition 948,288 square feet, (3) Land owned by four persons whose names were affixed to the petition by others 15,893 square feet, (4) all streets and highways within the territory described in the original petition 742,272, and (5) land (streets) included in the original petition previously annexed to the City of Kankakee 346,485 square feet.
Based upon the verified petition for annexation, the objections, and the stipulation of facts, the court ordered that the territory included in the original petition located within the City of Kankakee be excluded from the territory to be annexed, that the objections of Bernard Benoit to the original petition be overruled and denied, that the petition for annexation is valid, that the territory to be annexed is that described in the original petition excluding therefrom the lands of the City of Kankakee, and that the question of annexation be submitted to the corporate authorities for final action in accordance with the statute.
It is first contended by appellant that the original petition did not confer jurisdiction upon the County Court. In this respect it is said the petition is fatally defective in that it included lands within the corporate limits of the City of Kankakee. Further, it is suggested that the original petition being void because of this inclusion, that the County Court was powerless to permit any amendment of the original petition.
Jurisdiction is conferred upon the County Court by the filing of a verified petition that complies to the requirements of Sect. 7-2 of the Act.
Sect. 7-4 contemplates the hearing of evidence on the question of the validity of the petition after first hearing and determining any objections under sub-section (4) of Sect. 7-3 relating to lands located on the perimeter of the proposed territory which the objector does not desire to be annexed. Sect. 7-4 further provides that if the court finds the objections valid it shall order the petition to be amended to eliminate such perimeter lands from the territory to be annexed.
Sec. 7-4 then provides, "Thereafter upon this hearing the only matter for determination shall be the validity of the annexation petition . . . All petitions shall be supported by an affidavit of one or more of the petitioners, . . . that the signatures of the petition represent a majority of the property owners of record and the owners of record of more than 50% of the land in the territory described and a majority of the electors of the territory therein described. Petitions so verified shall be accepted as prima facie evidence of such facts. If the court finds that (1) the annexing petition is not signed by the requisite number of electors or property owners of record; or (2) that the described property is not contiguous to the annexing ...