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Anundson v. City of Chicago

APRIL 25, 1968.

VERNON ANUNDSON, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,

v.

CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE, RAYMOND P. KAEPPLINGER, PETITIONER-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CHARLES S. DOUGHERTY, Judge, presiding. Order reversed and cause remanded with directions.

MR. JUSTICE SCHWARTZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied and supplemental opinion July 9, 1968.

On August 7, 1962, a decree was entered declaring certain provisions of the Chicago Zoning Ordinance unconstitutional as applied to the property at 5655 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, then owned by Vernon Anundson and his wife Selma. The decree provided that the minimum area regulations of the ordinance were null and void as applied and that plaintiffs had the legal right to construct a building containing eleven stores and offices, six single bedroom apartments and six efficiency or one-room apartments. The court further ordered the City of Chicago to receive and examine any application for a permit to erect such a building and reserved jurisdiction for the purpose of enforcing the decree.

The building has since been completed and contains stores, offices and apartments as allowed by the decree, but in addition and not allowed by the decree, it also contains an auditorium capable of holding 600 persons and a roof garden capable of holding 250 persons. So far as appears, the parking facilities required by the ordinance have not been provided.

On May 4, 1966, Raymond P. Kaepplinger, owner of the property immediately adjacent to the subject premises, filed a petition alleging that the building did not conform to the declaratory judgment decree in that it contained the roof garden and meeting hall, and that no parking facilities were planned on the premises, wherefore he prayed that the court vacate the decree and enjoin further construction. The petition was denied and this appeal was taken.

Petitioner-appellant contends that the notice required by law to be served on the neighboring landowners did not accurately describe the building which the plaintiffs sought to construct and that the parking facilities required by the zoning ordinance have not been provided. The Anundsons, who were the plaintiffs below, do not appear in this appeal. The contractor William Harmon intervened and contested the petition. He appears before this court as the only contesting appellee and apparently the only person interested in the property. He raises no defense on the merits, but makes technical objections which we will later consider.

The property is located in a district designated for zoning purposes as a restricted service district or B4-1 zone, with respect to which the applicable ordinance requires 2,500 feet of lot space per dwelling unit. Plaintiffs sought the declaratory judgment in order to avoid this density regulation and thus obtain permission to construct a building with more dwelling units than would be ordinarily permissible. Only the density regulation was challenged and only the density regulation was invalidated by the subsequent decree.

In a zoning suit for a declaratory judgment, plaintiffs are required to serve written notice on all persons owning property within 250 feet of the premises, setting forth the date when the declaratory judgment action is to be filed and "a brief statement of the nature of the requested variation." Illinois Municipal Code, Ill. Rev Stats, ch 24, § 11-13-8 (1967). In accordance with this provision, the following notice was served on the neighboring landowners:

". . . please be informed that the undersigned will file a Declaratory Judgment in the Circuit Court of Cook County, within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter, to erect a three-story office and apartment building, containing approximately eleven (11) offices and eight (8) apartments, with adequate parking facilities, on the property located at 5655 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, Illinois."

None of the adjoining landowners receiving the above notice filed an appearance in the action.

While the case was pending, plaintiffs amended their pleadings without further notice to the neighboring landowners. Both the court and counsel for the City observed at that time that the neighbors were entitled to notice of any substantial change in the pleadings and that plaintiffs were assuming whatever risk was created by the failure to serve amended notices on the adjoining landowners. Nevertheless a decree was entered nullifying the density regulation of the ordinance as applied to the property and declaring that plaintiffs had the legal right to construct a building containing eleven stores and offices, six single bedroom apartments and six efficiency or one-room apartments.

The zoning ordinance requires that a building containing dwelling units of the number and kind described in the decree must have parking facilities on the premises for a minimum of seven cars and that the necessary parking spaces may not be situated beyond the premises "except as provided for as a Special Use." Chicago Zoning Ordinance, Chicago, Ill Municipal Code, ch 194A, § 8.11-2(3) (1957, as amended to and including January 1, 1967).

The landowners were assured by the notice of the declaratory judgment suit that "adequate parking facilities" would be provided, and the court was given similar assurances prior to the entry of the decree. At that time the contractor Harmon testified:

"Q. Now, Mr. Harmon, on behalf of the owners of the property, have you arranged for parking facilities for the subject property?

"A. Yes, sir, we have on the premises eight parking facilities under roof and we arranged for 20 additional."

The building as now completed contains twelve apartments, eleven stores and offices, the meeting hall and the fourth floor roof garden. Eight of the rooms designated as offices contain bathtubs which, petitioner-appellant contends, is a clear indication that those offices will be used as additional apartments notwithstanding the provisions of the decree. There is no provision whatever for on-premise parking and, due to the addition of the meeting hall and roof garden, a total of 92 parking ...


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