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People Ex Rel. Johnson v. City of Waukegan

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 6, 1976.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. CLIFFORD JOHNSON ET AL., PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE CITY OF WAUKEGAN ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. THOMAS R. DORAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DIXON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The petitioners in September 1973 filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Lake County seeking leave of court to file a petition in quo warrantor in order to challenge the right of the City of Waukegan to exercise jurisdiction over land involved in the annexation of certain territory containing the Lakehurst Shopping Center. Respondents moved to dismiss on the grounds that any action was barred by limitations and laches and that petitioners lacked standing. The trial court denied leave to file and petitioners appeal.

On August 4, 1969, the City of Waukegan passed an ordinance, by virtue of which it purported to annex certain lands lying west of the city limits. The annexation was divided into seven parcels of land each of which is fully described in the ordinance. The second parcel of land described had previously been claimed under a 1961 ordinance by the City of Park City. On September 19, 1968, Park City passed an ordinance which purported to disconnect this parcel of land.

The land described in Parcel 2 of Waukegan's annexation (and Park City's disconnection) includes a portion of the land underlying U.S. Highway Route 41; specifically, that portion of Route 41 lying south of Belvidere Road to the center line of 14th Street. This piece of land was the subject of an annexation by the City of North Chicago on January 20, 1958. The North Chicago annexation was attacked by the State's Attorney of Lake County in a quo warrantor proceeding. That case was dismissed for want of prosecution on January 31, 1961, before any asserted claim by either Park City or Waukegan to the land herein in question.

Chronologically restated:

January 20, 1958 North Chicago annexes stretch of U.S. 41, January 31, 1961 quo warrantor dismissed, October 9, 1961 Park City annexes same, September 19, 1968 Park City disconnects, August 4, 1969 Waukegan annexes same.

None of the other six parcels of land which Waukegan purported to annex on August 4, 1969, are contiguous to Waukegan unless the annexation of the relevant portion of U.S. Route 41 is valid. If that annexation is not valid, then parcels 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 lack contiguity with Waukegan and cannot be annexed by Waukegan.

The petitioners herein are residents of Lake Bluff and Libertyville, landowners and taxpayers of Lake County but not of any of the municipalities involved. On August 20, 1973, they requested Attorney General Scott and State's Attorney Hoogasian to attack the Waukegan annexation by a quo warrantor proceeding. Both refused. The petitioners thereafter filed their petition for leave of court to file a petition in quo warrantor in order to challenge the annexation by Waukegan.

The petitioners alleged that the annexation by Waukegan was invalid in multiple respects and that Waukegan was, therefore, unlawfully asserting jurisdiction over the land involved. Specifically, they alleged invalidity on the grounds that:

"1. Parcel 2 of the annexation was within the municipality of North Chicago and, therefore, could not be annexed by either Park City or Waukegan due to Illinois Revised Statutes, 1961, as amended, Chapter 24, sec. 7-1-1.

2. In any event Park City did not properly annex the land in that the requirements of Illinois Revised Statutes, Chapter 24, sec. 7-1-2 were not met. There was no showing whatsoever that Park City had obtained the consent of the governing authority of the Department of Public Works and Buildings with regard to a highway annexation.

3. Even if Park City did properly annex the land, it did not properly disconnect it in that owners of land and electors of the territory never petitioned for disconnection nor formally evidenced their desire to be disconnected from Park City as is required by Illinois Revised Statutes, Chapter 24, sec. 7-1-24.

4. Even if Park City did properly annex and disconnect the land, the annexation by Waukegan was defective in that it did not adhere to the applicable Illinois Statutes in the following respects:

a) That the land involved in the annexation of Parcel 2 was in excess of ten (10) acres and was owned by the 1st National Bank of Chicago as Trustee (the state has a perpetual easement for highway purposes) the consent of which was never obtained rendering the annexation ...


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