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Mistretta v. Village of River Forest

OCTOBER 19, 1971.

ANGELO D. MISTRETTA, ET AL., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANTS,

v.

VILLAGE OF RIVER FOREST, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. SAMUEL B. EPSTEIN, judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiffs appeal from a judgment entered in favor of defendant municipality in a zoning case and contend:

1. The doctrine of res judicata is inapplicable since plaintiffs base their suit upon changes in surrounding areas which occurred after the prior litigation.

2. The trial court erred in excluding from consideration certain use changes of property in an adjacent municipality.

3. The findings of the trial court are against the manifest weight of the evidence.

Plaintiffs purchased the subject property in July, 1964. The property was zoned "Class A — Single Family" *fn1 and consisted of a 50' X 180' lot which was vacant and unimproved. In August, 1964, plaintiff filed an application for a zoning change which was denied. The circuit court of Cook County sustained the Zoning Board's denial and this court affirmed as reported in Mistretta v. Village of River Forest (1966), 78 Ill. App.2d 46. (A complete description of the property and surrounding area is contained in that opinion).

On May 13, 1969, plaintiffs instituted the present suit seeking declaratory relief. Plaintiff's amended complaint alleged the aforementioned facts and further alleged that on January 22, 1969, plaintiff petitioned the Board of Trustees of the Village of River Forest to amend the zoning ordinance and that the Village refused to grant such relief.

The amended complaint further alleged that certain "drastic changes" have taken place in the immediate vicinity of the subject property since the 1964 petition for rezoning which makes its present zoning classification oppressive, arbitrary and confiscatory and the plaintiffs have offered the property for sale, but have been unable to procure a purchaser due to unsuitability of the zoning classification.

The use changes since 1964 which allegedly rendered the zoning unsuitable were:

1. The replacement of the two-flat building opposite plaintiffs' property to the east by a 24-unit, five story condominium building.

2. The construction of a seven-story apartment building in Elmwood Park less than a block from plaintiffs' property.

3. The removal of a structure to the west of plaintiffs' property that screened the Paddle Wheel Restaurant parking lot.

4. The replacement of a single family residence one block to the east by an apartment building.

On the basis of the foregoing allegations plaintiffs prayed for a declaratory judgment and injunction against the enforcement of the zoning ordinance ...


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