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American Nat'l Bk. & Trust v. City of Chicago





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.


Defendant appeals from a judgment finding its R-3 zoning classification of plaintiff's property to be arbitrary, unreasonable and unconstitutional, and declaring an M1-1 classification to be proper. It contends that the existing classification is not an arbitrary or unreasonable exercise of its police power.

The property involved is an undeveloped lot, approximately 250 feet by 125 feet, located at 1722-1746 North Paulina Street. Plaintiff purchased this property in 1967 together with a six-story manufacturing building directly across the street, on the east side of Paulina. Beginning on the subject property's southern boundary and continuing south along the west side of Paulina are several single- and multiple-family residences. Across the alley from its western boundary are several multifamily residences, a single-family residence, and a vacant lot. All of this property to the south and west is zoned general residential under the R-3 classification. A paved alley along the subject property's northern boundary separates it from a single-story, light manufacturing building zoned as restrictive manufacturing under the M1-1 classification. The six-story building directly across from the subject property is also zoned M1-1. At the corner of Paulina and Wabansia, the nearest intersection to the south, stands a parochial school and church. A public elementary school is located one block to the east at Marshfield and Wabansia. A playground has recently been built by defendant one block directly to the east of the subject property on the 1700 block between Marshfield and Ashland Avenue.

On June 4, 1973, plaintiff filed its complaint for declaratory judgment alleging that: it has exhausted its administrative remedies; it had complied with the statutory notice to adjoining landowners requirement for declaratory judgment suits (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 24, par. 11-13-8); the defendant's 1972 Zoning Ordinance as it applied to the subject property through its R-3, general residential classification, was discriminatory and had no reasonable relationship to the health, safety or welfare of the public; and praying for a judgment declaring the existing classification to be invalid and allowing it to improve and use the property under the M1-1, restricted manufacturing classification.

Defendant's answer denied the allegations of plaintiff's complaint, and affirmatively stated that the R-3 classification was reasonable and bore a presumption of validity.

At trial, the following evidence pertinent to this appeal was adduced.

For the plaintiff:

Bernard Fried

He is plaintiff's attorney. He filed an application with the City of Chicago to amend the zoning classification from R-3 to M1-1. After referral to committee and a public hearing, the City Council denied his application. Numerous attempts to sell the property have been unsuccessful. On cross-examination, he admitted that plaintiff had no existing agreement nor conditional sales contract with any real estate broker to sell the property.

Martin Niedelson

He is an architect who drove by the subject property in order to familiarize himself with it. He believes plaintiff would construct a light industrial warehouse on the property. On cross-examination, he stated that he had not been retained by plaintiff to design or supervise construction, nor had he drawn any plans or specifications for construction purposes.

William Lawrence

He is a city planning and zoning consultant. He familiarized himself with the subject property by making several inspections and by studying the zoning ordinances and surrounding uses. The highest and best use of the subject property would be limited manufacturing under M1-1 because the property was directly across from other manufacturing uses. A M1-1 use would provide an employment base for the neighborhood. Single-family homes would be inappropriate for the property. The proposed use would have little effect on parking in the area. On cross-examination he admitted that he could not develop a traffic generation study until he knew the exact use. Although schools and ...

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