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City of Chicago v. Santor

JULY 21, 1975.

THE CITY OF CHICAGO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

LEO SANTOR, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. MORAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GOLDBERG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The City of Chicago filed a complaint against Leo Santor (defendant) charging him with operating a public garage in Chicago without a license. After trial, the court found defendant guilty and assessed a fine. Defendant appeals.

The proof showed that defendant owns a garage building in Chicago which he has occupied since 1951, as an office and for his own truck leasing business. Approximately one-half of the space, which defendant does not require for his own use, is leased out to tenants for operation of their own businesses. The tenants pay monthly rental computed on a square foot basis. They use their portions of the space for storage, maintenance and repair of their own trucks and for parking of cars owned by themselves and their employees. Also, they store various personal property and some use the space as a workshop and for servicing of their own vehicles. No work upon any vehicle is done by defendant or his employees. There are 18 tenants who operate a total of 26 vehicles from the garage space. The individual spaces of each separate tenant are designated by lines marked on the floor.

There is no identification such as windshield decals for any of the vehicles which use the space. There is no sign or other indication outside or in the building regarding rental of space and no rates are posted inside the garage. No attendant is on duty but each tenant has his own key. The building has a vehicle door with a sign "Truck Entrance." There is also a side service door for access by individuals.

The legal power of the city to regulate garages stems from a statute last amended in 1961. In its present form, it provides (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 24, par. 11-42-8):

"The corporate authorities of each municipality may locate and regulate the use and construction of breweries, distilleries, livery, boarding, or sale stables, blacksmith shops, foundries, machine shops, garages, parking lots, camps, accommodating persons in house trailers, house cars, cabins or tents, laundries, and bathing beaches."

The legislative history of this enactment shows that it was originally adopted in 1872, at which time, as we would expect, the words "garages, parking lots" did not appear. (See Crerar Clinch Coal Co. v. City of Chicago, 341 Ill. 471, 474, 475, 173 N.E. 484; also Ill. Ann. Stat. ch. 24, par. 11-42-8, Historical Note at pages 191, 192 (Smith-Hurd 1962).) At that time, the section read:

"To direct the location and regulate the use and construction of breweries, distilleries, livery stables, blacksmith shops and founderies [sic] within the limits of the city or village."

In 1911, the section was amended by insertion of the word "garages" and by other amendments not material here. In 1919 and 1921, there were further amendments which were declared unconstitutional. (People ex rel. Roos v. Kaul, 302 Ill. 317, 134 N.E. 740.) Thereafter, the supreme court held that the statute in form as amended in 1911 remained in force. (Rippinger v. Niederst, 317 Ill. 264, 148 N.E. 7.) The word "garage" has persisted in amendments made in 1927 and 1941. The words "parking lots" were added in 1941, in accordance with City of Chicago v. Ben Alpert, Inc., 368 Ill. 282, 13 N.E.2d 987, and Stearns v. City of Chicago, 368 Ill. 112, 13 N.E.2d 63. In 1961, the section was given its present form by the inclusion of "camps accommodating persons in house trailers, house cars, cabins or tents * * *."

The word "garages," as used in this statute, has been authoritatively construed by the supreme court as meaning "public garages" only; thus negating power or authority in the city to regulate or license private garages. (Crerar Clinch Coal Co. v. City of Chicago, 341 Ill. 471, 173 N.E. 484.) The supreme court based this conclusion upon the then firmly established principle that cities were creatures of the legislature without inherent powers and derived all of their authority from statutes which granted it. These statutes were to be strictly construed with any fair or reasonable doubt regarding the existence of the power to be resolved against the municipality. See 341 Ill. 471, 475, and cases there cited.

The ordinances in question before us are sections 156-13 and 156-15 of the Municipal Code of Chicago enacted in 1939, which provide:

"156-13. The term `public garage' as used in this chapter is hereby defined as meaning any building, structure, premises, enclosure, or other place, except a public way, within the city, where two or more motor vehicles are stored, housed, or parked for hire, in a condition ready for use, or where rent or compensation is paid to the owner, manager or lessee of the premises for the housing, storing, sheltering, keeping, or maintaining of such motor vehicles.

156-15. No person shall engage in the business of a public garage without first having obtained a license therefor."

• 1 Section 156-15 appears to be within the legal authority of the city as above set forth. However, in our opinion, the resolution of the case before us depends upon whether the definition of "public garage" as set forth in section 156-13 is authorized by the grant of power contained in the enabling statute. It would seem clear and definite that the city cannot broaden its legal ...


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