Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County, Nineteenth
Judicial Circuit; the Hon. PHILIP W. YAGER, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Rehearing denied and supplemental opinion June 21, 1968.
This appeal involves an interpretation of the statute conferring upon counties the power to amend their zoning districts.
The plaintiff, Village of Riverwoods (herein called Riverwoods), sought a declaratory judgment asking, among other things, that a certain zoning amendment, purportedly adopted under the County Zoning Act by the defendant, County of Lake (herein called the County), be declared void and of no effect, and that the statute be declared unconstitutional at least, as interpreted by the zoning body of the County. The trial court found for the County and upheld the rezoning.
Riverwoods appealed directly to the Supreme Court, and that court transferred the case here. In its order of transfer it stated that in its opinion the appeal did not present a substantial constitutional issue, but only a question of statutory construction and application.
The statute in question is section 5 of the County Zoning Act. (Ill. Rev Stats 1965, c 34, par 3158.) It provides that the regulations imposed, and the districts created under the Act may be amended, but that no amendment shall be made without a public hearing before the Board of Appeals; that at least fifteen days' notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in a paper of general circulation in the county; and that hearings for the consideration of general amendments to a county zoning ordinance may be held in the courthouse. With reference to the vote required to pass such an amendment, the statute provides as follows:
". . . In case of written protest against any proposed amendment, signed and acknowledged by the owners of twenty percent of the frontage proposed to be altered, or by the owners of twenty percent of the frontage immediately adjoining or across an alley therefrom, or by the owners of twenty percent of the frontage directly opposite the frontage proposed to be altered, or in cases where the land affected lies within one mile and one-half of the limits of a zoned municipality, by the city council or president and board of trustees of the zoned municipality with limits nearest adjacent, filed with the county clerk, such amendment shall not be passed except by the favorable vote of three-fourths of all the members of the county board."
The above statute relates to notice, public hearing, protest by frontage owners and by the municipality nearest adjacent to the land affected; and the required vote of the County Board for the passage of a zoning amendment. Riverwoods contends that the statute refers to the municipality nearest adjacent to the property which is proposed to be rezoned as described in the petition for rezoning. The County urges that the statute refers to the municipality nearest adjacent to the property which is actually rezoned by the final action of the County Board of Supervisors. The trial court, as well as the County Board, agreed with the contention of the County.
As to the factual background giving rise to the zoning dispute, the defendant, Baxter Laboratories, Inc. (herein called Baxter), first filed a petition with the Lake County Zoning Board of Appeals, on January 3, 1966. In this petition, Baxter sought to rezone the four adjoining tracts of land, referred to as Tracts 1, 2, 3 and 4, which totaled approximately 140 acres, from Residential to Light Industrial (L-I). The property described in the petition as Tract 1, included all of that land extending westerly to Saunders Road, and the entire property is depicted in the following sketch:
Tracts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are situated between the Villages of Riverwoods and Deerfield. Riverwoods is separated from the southerly portions of the property by Saunders Road a main thoroughfare and a certain parcel of land located east of said Road and west of Tract 4. It virtually adjoins the southwest corner of Tract 1 as described in Baxter's petition, and is approximately 427 feet, at its closest point, from Tract 4. The Village of Deerfield lies to the east of the northern portion of the property. At the nearest point, it is approximately 300 feet from the property and is separated from it by the Northern Illinois Toll Road.
Both Villages filed written protests to the proposed Baxter rezoning, and, accordingly, in order for such amendment to be passed, it became necessary that it receive a favorable vote of three-fourths of all the members of the County Board. The Board of Appeals recommended that the petition be denied. The County Board of Supervisors, however, on March 8, 1966, by the required three-fourths' vote, granted the rezoning in part. It rezoned the property L-I, as requested by the petitioner, except for a portion 600 feet in width on the westerly end of Tract 1. This is indicated on the Sketch by the dotted line.
In the meantime, however, the County Board of Supervisors had also, on January 11, 1966, adopted a comprehensive amendment to its original zoning ordinance, which was the result of extensive hearings and planning. Under this amendment, the property described in the Baxter petition and notice Tracts 1, 2, 3 and 4 was reclassified as O & R (Office and Research). This amendment did not become effective, however, until March 31, 1966.
Thereafter, on May 10, 1966, the County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution reciting the two proceedings whereby it had recently rezoned part of the premises in question from Residential to L-I, and, thereafter, under the comprehensive amendment, to O & R. Thereby, it directed the County Zoning Board of Appeals to conduct a public hearing on the petition originally filed by Baxter, for the purpose of considering whether the property should be reclassified from O & R to L-I.
Thus, the premises to be considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals were Tracts 1, 2, 3 and 4 the property as originally described in the petition filed by Baxter. However, the publication notice of the hearing did not contain the complete legal description as set forth in the original petition and in the resolution adopted by the County Board on May 10, 1966, but rather, ...