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City of Des Plaines v. Metropolitan San. Dist.

MAY 13, 1970.




Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. LUPE, Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.


Rehearing denied June 22, 1970.

Defendant, Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago, appeals from the judgment entered in favor of plaintiff, City of Des Plaines, declaring the zoning ordinance of the city to be applicable to defendant's property and enjoining defendant from constructing a water reclamation plant (sewage treatment) on said property in violation of the city's zoning ordinance.

On July 29, 1966, defendant enacted an ordinance authorizing negotiation for the purchase of 103 acres of real estate located in the City of Des Plaines for the purpose of construction of a water reclamation plant. The real estate, as situated, was and continues to be zoned M-1 Restricted Manufacturing District under the City of Des Plaines Zoning Ordinance of 1960, as amended, in which zoning classification the proposed use is not included.

On or prior to September 27, 1966, the date of defendant's purchase of the property, plaintiff notified defendant of the zoning classification of the property and its restriction as to defendant's proposed use. Defendant, however, in reply, declared its intention to proceed with the proposed use without application to the City of Des Plaines for a variation. The purchase of the property was then consummated and a design report prepared for construction of a water reclamation plant.

Plaintiff then filed a complaint in the Circuit Court on November 4, 1966, for declaratory judgment as to the applicability of the city's zoning ordinance to defendant's property and for an injunction against violation of the ordinance. The trial court granted judgment for plaintiff and issued the injunction. Defendant appeals.


Defendant contends that the zoning ordinances of a municipality are not applicable against another municipality exercising its governmental function and that therefore, the trial court erred in granting judgment for plaintiff. Defendant's argument in this regard is based primarily on the decisions in Decatur Park Dist. v. Becker, 368 Ill. 442, 14 N.E.2d 490 (1938) and Village of Schiller Park v. City of Chicago, 26 Ill.2d 278, 186 N.E.2d 343 (1962).

In the Decatur case the park district sought condemnation of certain property for park purposes. The trial court denied the landowners' motion to dismiss and they appealed contending the proposed park was not a permitted use under the zoning ordinance which classified the property "A" residence property. The court stated at page 447:

"No authority is cited to support this (the landowners) contention, and on principle it cannot be sustained. If appellants' contention is correct, it would be necessary for the appellee to locate its city parks and playgrounds in commercial and industrial zones exclusively. The appellee is given authority to locate parks, and the city is given authority to adopt a zoning ordinance. The legislature did not empower cities to exclude parks from residence districts. The two statutes should be construed so that the ordinance of the park district and the zoning ordinance of the city will be given effect in their respective fields of operation. Regardless of the fact that this property was zoned "A" residence property, the park district could condemn and use it for park purposes." (Emphasis supplied.)

In the Schiller Park case the Village of Schiller Park brought suit to enjoin the City of Chicago from condemning property located within the limits of the village for airport purposes (O'Hare). After dismissal of the suit, the village on appeal contended that since the statute authorizing the acquisition of property for public airports failed to provide for certain consequences of condemnation of property in incorporated areas, such as violation of zoning restrictions, an intention was evinced by the legislature to limit the exercise of the power to non-incorporated areas. The court answered this contention by stating at page 281:

"The argument as to interference with zoning restrictions would be applicable as well to county zoning, and it is undisputed that the power in question may be exercised in unincorporated territory outside the municipality. The possibility of conflict with local zoning regulations does not indicate a legislative intent to withhold the power."

In Heft v. Zoning Board of Appeals of Peoria County, 31 Ill.2d 266, 201 N.E.2d 364 (1964) the Supreme Court of Illinois was again confronted with the effect of zoning restrictions upon land acquired by another municipality. The Greater Chillocothe Sanitary District petitioned the zoning department of Peoria County to obtain a building permit for a sewage disposal plant. After being denied the permit, the Sanitary District appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variation which was allowed. The appellants (adjacent landowners) then filed an administrative review action in the Circuit Court which affirmed the action of the Zoning Board of Appeals. On appeal the Sanitary District contended:

". . . the statute under which it is organized authorized it to establish a needed disposal system and that no other governmental unit can interfere with the exercise of that authority so ...

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