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Glassey v. Co. of Tazewell

MAY 31, 1973.




APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Tazewell County; the Hon. ROBERT E. HUNT, Judge, presiding.


This was an action for declaratory judgment requesting that defendant Tazewell County's zoning ordinance be declared unconstitutional in its application to plaintiffs property and requiring the issuance of necessary permits and licenses for the development and operation of a proposed mobile home park and attendant facilities. The Circuit Court of Tazewell County entered judgment in favor of plaintiffs and the defendant County has taken this appeal.

The plaintiffs, Brent Glassey and Bruno Gianessi entered into an option agreement for the purchase of 150 acres of land located about 2.7 miles south of Pekin in Tazewell County, beyond the boundaries of any municipality so that the County Zoning Ordinance governs its use. Under that ordinance the land was zoned agricultural. The surrounding area is agricultural and is sparsely populated with very few family dwellings. For many years a part of the land was the site of the old Pekin Airport. An elementary school is located about a quarter mile northeast of the north east corner of the property.

In 1969 the plaintiff applied for a special use permit for a mobile home park for an area of about 54.3 acres. A companion application for an adjoining 5.6 acres was to construct and operate a sewage treatment plant in conjunction with the mobile home park. Both areas are a part of the 150 acres. The Zoning Board of Appeals, after conducting a hearing referred the matter to the Zoning and Planning Committee of the County Board. A hearing was held by that Committee and both applications were recommended for approval for the issuance of a special use permit. That Committee made a finding that there is a definite need for additional mobile home living space in the County. The entire Board of Supervisors then, without a hearing, voted to deny the permits. Plaintiffs thereafter commenced the instant action.

At the hearing before the circuit court the above facts were developed in addition to other evidence. An expert appraiser testified that as currently zoned the property was at the least value it could be. The highest and best use would be some type of residential development including a mobile home park. The mobile home park would not adversely affect the value of surrounding property and would possibly enhance their value. This evidence was not rebutted.

The plans for the sewage treatment plant call for a modified activated sludge plant that would provide secondary treatment by a mechanical aerated system. The plans had met with approval of the State Sanitary Water Board but will now have to be finally approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Tri-County Planning Commission, the official planning commission for Tazewell County recommend approval.

Further evidence showed a great need of trailer home space in the Pekin area.

The issue on appeal is whether the defendant's ordinance was unconstitutional as applied to plaintiffs' property or as was stated in Sinclair Pipe Line v. Richton Park, 19 Ill.2d 370, 377, "[T]he ultimate legal determination that must be made in every case is whether the existing restrictions on the use of the land in question are arbitrary and unreasonable".

• 1, 2 In "determining whether the operation of any particular zoning ordinance or a provision thereof exceeds the police power or otherwise stated bears no substantial relation to the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare, there are a number of factors which must be applied to the facts in each particular case, all factors are important and no one factor is controlling. (La Salle Nat. Bank v. County of Cook, 12 Ill.2d 40.)" And while there is a presumption as to the validity of a zoning ordinance, that presumption is overcome when it is shown there is no substantial relation to the general welfare. Schmitt v. Village of Skokie, 6 Ill. App.3d 177, 287 N.E.2d 202.

• 3 We shall discuss the evidence as it relates to the factors suggested in the La Salle Nat. Bank case and two additional items that are of importance in this case.

(1) The existing uses and zoning of nearby property:

The property is zoned agricultural as is the surrounding area. It is 2.7 miles south of Pekin and 1.3 miles north of the Village of South Pekin. On the north of the property is a railroad track and Lost Creek, to the east of the property is a rural road called Fifth Street and a railroad and on the south a gravel road. A considerable distance north of Lost Creek is a residence. Southeast there are two homes and there is one home directly south of the property. There will be shrubbery screening the area from neighboring lands and a proposed seventy-five foot parkway all the way around the proposed development where it might affect other land. ...

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