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First Nat. Bk. of Skokie v. Vil. of Morton Grove

JUNE 28, 1973.

FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF SKOKIE, AS TRUSTEE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE VILLAGE OF MORTON GROVE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWARD J. EGAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MCNAMARA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied July 26, 1973.

Plaintiff, First National Bank of Skokie, as trustee of certain realty, brought a declaratory judgment action in the circuit court of Cook County against the defendant, Village of Morton Grove, seeking a declaration that defendant's zoning ordinance was unconstitutional and void as applied to plaintiff's property. After hearing evidence, the trial court entered judgment declaring defendant's zoning ordinance to be invalid as it prevented the development of the property as proposed by plaintiff. On appeal, defendant contends that plaintiff failed to sustain its burden of proving the invalidity of defendant's zoning ordinance as applied to the subject property, and that plaintiff failed to sustain its burden of proving that defendant acted unreasonably and arbitrarily in refusing to rezone plaintiff's property so as to permit plaintiff's proposed use as an automobile service station.

The property in question is located at the southeast corner of Lincoln and Austin Avenues in the Village of Morton Grove. It has a 50 foot frontage on Lincoln and 125 foot frontage on Austin. Both Austin and Lincoln are four-lane streets, and the intersection is controlled by traffic lights.

The plaintiff also holds title to the two lots immediately to the east of the subject property, and it proposes the use of those two lots and the subject property as the site for the gasoline service station. Plaintiff had entered into a contingent contract with the Clark Oil and Refining Corporation providing that if plaintiff succeeded in obtaining a zoning change which would permit the development of the subject property, along with the two lots to the east, as an automobile service station, Clark would purchase the site for $50,000. The beneficial owners, William and Natoma Little, had acquired the subject property, the two lots to the east and other property on the block in 1965 for $60,000.

The subject property is zoned R-2, a single family residence classification, while the two adjacent lots to the east are zoned B-2, a service business district classification. A portion of the subject property is improved with a single family residence.

Plaintiff petitioned defendant for the rezoning of the subject property from R-2 to B-2. When the petition was denied, plaintiff brought this action. At the time plaintiff filed the petition, automobile service stations were permitted under B-2. Subsequently the zoning ordinance was amended making such stations a special use under B2.

The two blocks east of the subject property on Lincoln are zoned B-2 on both the north and south sides of the street. Immediately east of the subject property is a parking lot. As we have noted, it is owned by the Littles, and constitutes part of the site for the proposed Clark station. East of the parking lot and extending the rest of the block to Mason Avenue is a building, also owned by the Littles, housing a graphic arts business on the ground floor with a multiple family residence above.

On the block east of Mason on the south side of Lincoln are located a heating and air conditioning service and an auto parts store. East of these is a single family residence. The next block contains multiple family residences.

The north side of Lincoln for two blocks to the east and for over six blocks to the west is also zoned B-2. Directly across from the subject property, on the northeast corner of Lincoln and Austin, there is a Marathon Gas Station. Directly north of this service station is an auto tire and supply company, and directly east is another automotive supply company. East of the automotive supply company is a multiple family residence.

The next block to the east on the north side of Lincoln contains a multiple family residence, a florist shop and a small shopping center. In the shopping center, along with parking space, are a barber shop, a cleaner, a food mart, a chicken store and a laundromat.

An Arco service station is located diagonally from the subject property at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Austin. To the west of the Arco station, a 27 unit condominium was being constructed at the time of trial. Further west, at the northwest corner of Lincoln and Morton Avenues, is a one store medical office building. The next block west on the north side of Lincoln contains a television service shop and single family residences.

On the south side of Lincoln, the block directly west of Austin is zoned R-2 for single family use. However this block does contain a wholesale liquor company as a non-conforming use. The subject property is the only property in the block in which it is located which is restricted to a single-family use.

Immediately south of the subject property is an alley, 16 feet in width, which runs between Austin and Mason Avenues, the next street to the east. South of this alley in an area zoned R-2, are single family residences. One block southeast of the subject property is an industrial district which extends into the ...


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