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Bartlett v. City of Chicago

JANUARY 25, 1965.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CHARLES S. DOUGHERTY, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.


Rehearing denied February 18, 1965.

This is an appeal by the defendant, City of Chicago, from a declaratory judgment holding a zoning ordinance unconstitutional as applied to certain property owned by the plaintiffs, Robert Bartlett and Bernice, his wife. Plaintiffs propose to construct a 31 story apartment building which would meet all the requirements of R-7 zoning and conform to the building code of the city.

The subject property known as 525 Hawthorne Place is zoned R-1 single-family residential. In June 1962 the plaintiffs made application to the City Council to rezone the property to R-7 general residential to permit construction of a proposed high-rise apartment building. Although a public hearing was had on the application it languished in committee until, by the provisions of Chicago's Zoning Ordinance, it was deemed denied for lack of final action. Plaintiffs brought suit and judgment was entered in their favor. The defendant appealed directly to the Supreme Court and the case was transferred to this court because the appeal did not present a substantial constitutional question justifying a direct appeal to that Court.

Plaintiffs purchased the premises in 1940 for $25,000 and expended the sum of $20,000 in remodeling. They resided there until 1962 when they closed it up and moved to a new place of residence. The main building is a mansion type house, four stories high containing 20 rooms. It was built in 1910 in the architectural style of that era and designed to accommodate a single family with a minimum of four servants necessary to properly maintain it. On the first floor there is a kitchen and laundry. The second floor has a dining room and butler's pantry. Bedrooms are located on the third floor and servants' quarters on the fourth. The house has no elevators and there are no plumbing facilities on the second floor. There are nine full bedrooms in addition to linen closets, bathrooms and accessory accommodations.

The land consists of approximately one acre with 160 feet frontage on the south side of Hawthorne Place and is 150 feet west of Lake Shore Drive. The Drive at this point is an eight lane express boulevard and also has four inner lanes for local traffic including buses. Just east of the Drive is a major public recreational area and large public boat harbor maintained by the Chicago Park District.

Beginning just north of the "loop" the lake front of Chicago, to a depth of one city block, is zoned for and devoted to the highest residential density permitted by the Chicago Zoning Ordinance. The only exception is the approximately 700 feet of frontage on the interior portion of Hawthorne Place, which is a one block long street beginning at Lake Shore Drive and running west for 1050 feet to Broadway Ave.

When plaintiffs purchased the premises in 1940, Hawthorne Place was zoned and used for single-family residences, with a single exception. This was a 58 foot corner lot at the northwest corner of Hawthorne and Broadway, which was and still is zoned and used for a 4-story business and apartment building having most of its frontage on Broadway.

Plaintiffs for many years lead the opposition to zoning changes on Hawthorne Place. Meetings of the neighborhood residents opposing the changes were held at their home and they paid all the legal expenses incurred in an attempt to make their opposition effective. Their efforts met with success until about 1954 when they contend "the City Council made a legislative determination (which the courts later followed) that the trend of development in the area was for high-rise development." They cite the following zoning changes and uses as the basis for this contention.

The lot to the east of plaintiffs' property and on the southwest corner of the Drive and Hawthorne Place in 1954 was zoned R-7 and improved with an 18-story high-rise apartment building fronting on Lake Shore Drive and extending 50 feet into Hawthorne. The building's garage and its access driveway abuts the east line of the subject property.

In 1955 the 191 feet of frontage on the northwest corner of the Drive and Hawthorne Place, diagonally and across the street of the subject property, were rezoned R-7. Plaintiffs opposed this change. Later, a declaratory judgment extended this R-7 zoning 50 feet westerly beyond the original 191 feet on Hawthorne. A high-rise apartment building will occupy this site fronting on Lake Shore Drive but extending westerly along Hawthorne and directly across from plaintiffs' property.

On the north side and most westerly portion of the 500 block of Hawthorne Place abutting the B 4-4 building, fronting on Broadway, there are two townhouses. Although the owners of this property sought a change from R-1 to R-7 an agreement was effectuated and the zoning ordinance was amended accordingly. The townhouses were built no higher than 30 feet and landscaped with patio arrangements. They consist of eight dwelling units.

The comprehensive amendment to the Chicago Zoning Ordinance in 1957 rezoned the 150 feet on the southwest corner of Broadway and Hawthorne to B-4.

As to the zoning and uses on the south side of Hawthorne Place (the side where plaintiffs' property is situated) beginning at Lake Shore Drive and proceeding west, we find:

2. The next 750 feet: zoned R-1 and improved with single-family residences as follows:

1. The first 150 feet: zoned R-7 and improved with the modern 18 story apartment building built in 1955, fronting on the Drive and abutting plaintiffs' east lot line with the garage and access driveway on Hawthorne.

(a) The first 160 feet of frontage is the subject property, an acre lot improved with the 20 room brick and stone mansion type house in the ...

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