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St. James Temple v. Board of Appeals

OCTOBER 15, 1968.

ST. JAMES TEMPLE OF THE A.O.H. CHURCH OF GOD, INC., A RELIGIOUS CORPORATION, JAMES JOHNSON, AS ITS MINISTER, WILLIE WATSON, AND WILLIE B. CARTER, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE BOARD OF APPEALS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, B. EMMET HARTNETT, EARL J. MCMAHON, HUBERT F. MESSE, KARL M. VITZTHUM, AND JOHN P. KRINGAS, AS ITS MEMBERS, THE DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS, CITY OF CHICAGO, SIDNEY SMITH, COMMISSIONER OF BUILDINGS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, THE BUREAU OF ZONING OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, JOHN P. MALONEY, ZONING ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS C. DONOVAN, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE MCNAMARA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied November 8, 1968.

This is an appeal by plaintiff from an order of the trial court affirming the decision of the Board of Appeals of the City of Chicago denying a special use permit for a church at 856 West 79th Street, Chicago. The case originally was appealed directly to the Supreme Court which transferred it to this court. The transfer order of the Supreme Court stated in part: "Although plaintiff claims that there is a question of freedom of religion presented, we find no substantial question of that nature in the record. The case involves only the usual factors present in every zoning case and we have no jurisdiction on direct appeal."

The church appeals, contending (1) that the denial of its application for a special use was arbitrary, capricious and bore no substantial relation to the public health, safety and welfare and (2) that the judgment should be reversed because the order of the Board of Appeals contained insufficient finding of facts.

The plaintiff St. James Temple of the A.O.H. Church of God, Inc. is a religious corporation organized in 1945 under the laws of Illinois and a member of a national organization. The church had been located at 3028 South Michigan Avenue and 3158 South Wentworth Avenue, Chicago. The church then located at 508-510 East 67th Street, Chicago, where it operated under a permit granted by the Board of Appeals. In February, 1965, the church purchased the premises at 856 West 79th Street for $20,000 because the 67th Street property had been acquired by Hull House of the Parkway Community Center.

The property at 856 West 79th Street consists of a two-story brick building. The main floor had been a store and is now used as a church, while the upper floor contained living quarters. The property is bounded on the south by 79th Street, on the north by an alley, on the west by Peoria Street and on the east by a store. Leo High School is located across the street from the subject property.

The neighborhood in which the property lies is used for residential and business purposes. The site in question is zoned B4-2. B4-2 is a classification under the Chicago Zoning Ordinance for a Restricted Service District. A Restricted Service District is designed to furnish areas served by Restricted Retail Districts with a wide variety of necessary services not permitted within Restricted Retail District zoning.

Under the ordinance, a church is a permitted use in certain residential districts, R-1 to R-8. However, a church is not a permitted use in either B-2 or B-4 business districts, but is designated as a special use which may be allowed only pursuant to certain variation provisions of Article 11 of the ordinance. (Municipal Code of Chicago 1965, c 194A, Chicago Zoning Ordinance.)

Article 11 provides in part as follows:

§ 11.10-4 Standards. No special use shall be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals unless the special use:

(1) a. Is necessary for the public convenience at that location;

b. Is so designed, located and proposed to be operated that the public health, safety and welfare will be protected; and

(2) Will not cause substantial injury to the value of other property in the neighborhood in ...


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