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La Salle Nat. Bank v. Village of Burr Ridge

MARCH 29, 1967.

LA SALLE NATIONAL BANK, A NATIONAL BANKING ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF A TRUST AGREEMENT DATED NOVEMBER 25, 1960, AND KNOWN AS TRUST NUMBER 17797, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

VILLAGE OF BURR RIDGE, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of DuPage County; the Hon. WILLIAM L. GUILD, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This is a disconnection proceeding commenced by the petitioner, La Salle National Bank, as Trustee, in which it seeks to disconnect 126.5 acres of land from the Village of Burr Ridge, herein called Burr Ridge. The trial court held that the statutory requisites had been met, and ordered the property disconnected. The defendant, Burr Ridge, appealed.

The relevant statute, Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 24, section 7-3-6, provides:

"The owner or owners of record of any area of land consisting of one or more tracts, lying within the corporate limits of any municipality may have such territory disconnected which (1) is not contiguous in whole or in part to any other municipality; (2) contains 20 or more acres; (3) is not subdivided into municipal lots and blocks; (4) is located on the border of the municipality; (5) if disconnected, will not result in the isolation of any part of the municipality from the remainder of the municipality, (6) if disconnected, the growth prospects and plan and zoning ordinances, if any, of such municipality will not be unreasonably disrupted, (7) if disconnected, no substantial disruption will result to existing municipal service facilities, such as, but not limited to, sewer systems, street lighting, water mains, garbage collection and fire protection, (8) if disconnected the municipality will not be unduly harmed through loss of tax revenue in the future. . . .

". . . If the court finds that the allegations of the petition are true and that the area of land is entitled to disconnection it shall order the specified land disconnected from the designated municipality. If the circuit court finds that the allegations contained in the petition are not true, the court shall enter an order dismissing the petition.

"An area of land, or any part thereof, disconnected under the provisions of this section from a municipality which was incorporated at least 2 years prior to the date of the filing of such petition for disconnection shall not be subdivided into lots and blocks within 1 year from the date of such disconnecting. A plat of any such proposed subdivision shall not be accepted for recording or registration within such one year period, unless the land comprising such proposed subdivision shall have been thereafter incorporated into a municipality."

It is the contention of Burr Ridge that: (1) the disconnection would not be within the legislative purpose as the disconnected property would not resume a rural nature; (2) the petitioner failed to show that disconnection would not unreasonably disrupt the growth prospects and plan and zoning ordinances of the Village; (3) the petitioner failed to show that the disconnection will not result in isolation of any part of the Village from the remainder; and (4) the petitioner's property is contiguous to another municipality, Willowbrook.

The trial court found that the several statutory requirements for disconnection were established by the evidence. We will not disturb such finding unless it is clearly contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Anderson v. City of Rolling Meadows, 10 Ill.2d 54, 58, 139 N.E.2d 199 (1956); Stevens v. Fanning, 59 Ill. App.2d 285, 294, 207 N.E.2d 136 (1965).

Burr Ridge argues that the statute contemplates that land, when disconnected, must resume a rural character; that the land is to be freed from the burdens of municipal taxation, restrictions and regulations; and that the land is to be disconnected to permit it to remain in an unincorporated area. This contention appears to be based on certain language in specific cases to the effect that the statute is intended to facilitate the removal of lands from the burdens imposed by a municipality. Punke v. Village of Elliott, 364 Ill. 604, 611, 612, 5 N.E.2d 389 (1936); Woodward Governor Co. v. City of Loves Park, 335 Ill. App. 528, 538, 82 N.E.2d 387 (1948); Wolbach v. Village of Flossmoor, 329 Ill. App. 528, 530, 69 N.E.2d 704 (1946).

In pursuing this thought, Burr Ridge points out — and we believe with ample justification from the evidence — that if the disconnection here sought is approved, the owner will annex the land, as soon as possible, to the Village of Willowbrook. However, we find no statutory proscription of such action; and, we conclude that the cases cited by Burr Ridge, interpreting the statute, do not hold that disconnection is proper only when the land is to revert to a rural character. Rather, we read the statute as intending to provide a means of disconnection from any municipality, if the enumerated requirements are met, regardless of the purpose of the petitioner and, we believe that the cases so hold and that such decisions accord a liberal construction to the statute. In re Certain Territory of Palos Heights, 30 Ill. App.2d 336, 342, 174 N.E.2d 574 (1961); Van Bebber v. Village of Scottville, 13 Ill. App.2d 458, 465, 142 N.E.2d 711 (1957).

It should be apparent from its last paragraph that the statute is not intended to limit disconnection to those lands which will remain in unincorporated areas. This paragraph provides that under certain conditions, land which is disconnected shall not be subdivided into lots and blocks within one year from such disconnection, and that no plat of any such proposed subdivision shall be accepted for recording within such period unless the land shall have been thereafter incorporated into a municipality. (Ill Rev Stats 1965, c 24, § 7-3-6.) (Italics ours.)

Burr Ridge next contends that the petitioner failed to show that the disconnection would not unreasonably disrupt the growth prospects and plan and zoning ordinances of the Village. The contention as to the growth prospects is amply answered by petitioner's exhibit No. 1, which indicates that the area in question is surrounded to the east, south, and west, by the Village of Willowbrook. In view of this circumstance, and of the fact that the Village does not have any sewer mains within a block of the property, maintains no street lights around or within it, and offers it neither police or fire protection, nor refuse collection service, the disconnection of the land in question could not possibly disrupt any service facilities or the substantial growth prospects of Burr Ridge in these directions.

As to the disruption of plan and zoning ordinances, each party presented expert witnesses, who gave opinions supporting their respective positions. Each has suggested that the witnesses for the other offered testimony without valid foundation, but that its own witnesses presented reasoned and well-supported testimony. We have examined the record in detail in this regard and find adequate basis to support the opinions of each of the witnesses. However, it must be remembered that, under the statute, the issue before the court was whether the proposed disconnection would unreasonably disrupt the planning and zoning ordinances of Burr Ridge. The trial court heard and saw the ...


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