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Exchange Nat. Bk. v. Cook County





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JULIAN P. WILAMOSKI, Judge, presiding.


Plaintiffs appeal directly from an order denying their motion to vacate a declaratory judgment order entered on their complaint holding the Cook County zoning ordinance valid and constitutional insofar as it affects plaintiffs' property and dismissing plaintiffs' complaint for want of equity. The matter has been properly certified to us by the trial court pursuant to section 75 (1)(c) of the Civil Practice Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1961, chap. 110, par. 75(1)(c).) No questions are raised on the pleadings, and it is conceded that all administrative remedies have been exhausted.

Plaintiffs' property is a vacant lot containing approximately three and three quarters acres located 230 feet north of Rand Road (U.S. Route 12) and 130 feet east of Grove Avenue, one block east of River Road (U.S. Route 45) in Maine Township in Cook County. Plaintiffs purchased this property in 1958 at a cost of $35,000, and at that time the zoning was R-4, single-family residence district. Plaintiffs subsequently received $10,000 for a strip of land off the west side of the subject property which was condemned by the State Highway Department.

On March 23, 1959, the plaintiffs petitioned the Cook County zoning board of appeals for a reclassification from R-4 to the R-5 general residence district, which would permit the construction of multifamily units. Thereafter the Cook County zoning board of appeals, after hearings at which no objection was presented, recommended that the zoning ordinance of Cook County be so amended and the subject property reclassified to R-5. On August 18, 1959, the recommendation of the zoning board of appeals was approved and adopted by the county board of commissioners of Cook County and the property was reclassified and placed upon the zoning maps of Maine Township as R-5.

Thereafter the plaintiffs proceeded to expend some $2500 in architectural, engineering and survey costs in preparation for erection of bilevel town houses consisting of some 60 units upon the subject property. Loan arrangements were made, together with plans for sewage disposal.

On March 8, 1960, following public hearings at which no objections were presented by plaintiffs, the Cook County board of commissioners adopted a comprehensive amendment to the Cook County zoning ordinance which reclassified the subject property to the original R-4 single-family residence district classification in existence at the time of purchase by the plaintiffs. Thereafter the plaintiffs filed an application for reclassification to the R-5 general residence district, notices were given, public hearings held, and the zoning board of appeals of Cook County, on September 14, 1960, again recommended to the county board the reclassification to R-5. On August 3, 1960, the city of Des Plaines advised the county clerk that the city objected to the proposed reclassification and, as a result thereof, the recommendation of the zoning board of appeals was not concurred in by the Cook County board of commissioners. This proceeding followed.

We have carefully reviewed the entire record, including the exhibits, and have summarized the salient facts, as follows:

Adjoining the subject property to the north is a green-house for wholesale use, and Woodland Avenue which ends near the Des Plaines River. Proceeding westward from the river on Woodland Avenue, the improvements become progressively more desirable. On the north side of Woodland, approximately 600 to 800 feet northwest of the property, are located 31 town houses which were built in 1960. Immediately west of the town houses is a parking lot, a howling alley, a kiddy park, a cocktail lounge, the Rio-Rand Hotel, and the American Wilbert Vault Corp. plant. On the south side of Woodland are nicely constructed homes of good quality for single-family purposes.

West of the property in question is Grove Avenue. The northeast corner of Grove Avenue and Rand Road is occupied by a parking lot used by the Ladendorf automobile business. Immediately north of this lot are 3 dwellings and a trailer, which are rented for multifamily use, and a motel. North of the motel on Grove Avenue, ending on Woodland Road, contiguous to the property, are located private homes. The northwest corner of Grove Avenue and Rand Road is occupied by the Ladendorf auto show rooms. Further north on Grove Avenue, the Ladendorf service garage is located. The west side of Grove Avenue contains a number of substantial single-family dwellings.

To the south of the subject property, on the north side of Rand Road between Hawthorne Avenue and Grove is located a warehouse, several single-family dwellings and a vacant lot at the northeast corner of Rand and Grove.

In the area east of the subject property are some 40 single-family dwellings, many of excellent quality. The lots upon which these dwellings have been built are deep lots, many of which abut upon the subject property. The rear part of the lots, pictures of which appear in the exhibits, contain frame buildings and dog kennels, and are not particularly attractive.

Proceeding westerly on Rand Road from Ladendorf showrooms brings many commercial uses, including the Fox and Hounds Tavern, an automobile used parts store, a used car lot, and a trailer rental business. "Five Corners" is an intersection at which River, Mannheim and Rand Roads converge. The southeast corner of "Five Corners" is occupied by a tavern, a gas station, an electric shop, the River and Rand Road Liquor and Food Shop, and the Miami Lounge. Just across from Ladendorf's automobile business on Rand Road are located private homes, and adjacent thereto is a chinchilla ranch, the A & B Heating Co., a Jehovah's Witnesses church, and the North School.

There are plans to build additional single-family homes in the area to the east of the subject property. While there are certain nonconforming uses which have existed for many years, the bulk of the area is single-family residential property. It was apparently for this reason that the zoning board had established the area as a single-family residential neighborhood even though uniformity was lacking.

Plaintiffs have pointed out that some 31 town houses were built in 1960 within 600 to 800 feet of the subject property, and argues that plaintiff will lose some $37,000 if they are prevented from constructing the town houses as planned. Defendant contends that with R-4 zoning, plaintiffs will still be in a position to earn a profit ...

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