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Marriott v. Springfield Sanitary District

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 18, 1976.

NILE M. MARRIOTT, JR., ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

SPRINGFIELD SANITARY DISTRICT ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES. — (J.F. WEISKOPF & SONS, INC., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

SPRINGFIELD SANITARY DISTRICT ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. PAUL C. VERTICCHIO, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE TRAPP DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

In plaintiffs' action for declaratory judgment and injunction, the trial court adjudged that the ordinance of the Springfield Sanitary District, effective April 1, 1970, establishing certain "connection fees" was not so vague and uncertain as to deprive plaintiffs of due process or equal protection of the law; that the classification of use as a "dwelling unit" and "non-dwelling building" for the purpose of fixing such fee was not an arbitrary classification without basis in reason; that there was no evidence or errors in the administration of the ordinance involving discrimination which deprived plaintiffs of due process or equal protection of the law; that the sums paid under protest by plaintiffs were proper charges for their respective fees; that section 7 of the Sanitary District Act of 1917 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 42, par. 306) does not violate the several sections of either the Illinois Constitutions of 1870 or 1970, or of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and that there was no just reason for delaying appeal. The plaintiffs appeal.

The Springfield Sanitary District was organized in 1924, and from time to time annexations were effected. As of the date of the ordinance at issue, defendant District included both the City of Springfield and areas outside of the City limits.

For many years the City of Springfield has maintained, at its own expense, all of the public sewer lines within the corporate limits of the City of Springfield except for those few instances in which an intercept sewer (one carrying sewage collected from City of Springfield trunk lines and from other public sewers with the help of pumping stations, directly to the treatment plant on the north side of the District) may pass in and out of the City of Springfield on its way to the treatment plant. The defendant District maintains and operates the treatment plant, all intercept sewers, and all public sewers outside the corporate limits of Springfield regardless of whether they are inside or outside of an incorporated city or village in the district other than the City of Springfield.

On or about March 22, 1966, in exchange for defendant District's promise to enforce their mutual rules and regulations prohibiting property owners and others from connecting downspouts directly to sewer lines within the corporate limits of Springfield, the City of Springfield surrendered to defendant District the right to collect sewer connection fees and other fees within the corporate limits of the City of Springfield, the City retaining the obligation of maintaining said sewers and also jurisdiction of plumbing within the buildings.

On or about the year 1956, defendant District and the City of Springfield also entered into a mutual agreement whereby, in substance, defendant District put into effect a sewer service charge measured by the volume of water drawn by occupants of a property as established by water meters, enforceable throughout the entire district, both inside and outside the City of Springfield. The City of Springfield at the same time adopted a sewer service charge similar to the rates of defendant District; and defendant District then abated and agreed not to enforce that part of its sewer service charge otherwise applicable within the corporate limits of the City of Springfield, as long as the City of Springfield kept its said rates in effect. The revenues therefrom, after deducting collection fees, were divided between the City of Springfield and the District in accordance with an agreed formula.

Plaintiff, Marriott, owned a parcel of land within the limits of the District upon which he was constructing two buildings, each containing six residential units. These replaced a one-family residence located upon the parcel. The District demanded a net connection fee of $2200 after credit for the dwelling replaced by the new construction.

Plaintiff, Weiskopf, is a plumbing contractor who, on August 6, 1971, bid upon four apartment buildings containing 64 one-bedroom apartments and 176 two-bedroom apartments. The contract required that he pay the connection fees. Such bid was made upon a computation of $15 times the number of plumbed fixtures, or the sum of $24,240. The District demanded the fee be computed under the ordinance as $200 for each dwelling unit, or the sum of $48,000.

Section 1 of the ordinance contains the following relevant definitions:

"(k) `Dwelling Unit' is (1) a single family residence, (2) each apartment in an apartment building or other multiple unit dwelling, (3) each trailer or space in a trailer park. (1) `Non Dwelling Unit' (sic) is a building or buildings used for commercial (including motel or hotel), industrial or public (including church and school buildings) purposes. (m) `Plumbed Fixture' shall be each stool, lavatory, bath, shower, sink, floor drain, or drain from any appliance or facility which may drain water or wastes to the Sanitary Sewer."

Section 5 refers to the described structures and provides:

"(a) Dwelling Unit Connection Fee. There shall be a connection charge in the amount of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) per dwelling unit. (b) Non Dwelling Building. There shall be a connection charge of Fifteen Dollars ($15.00) per plumbed fixture in a non-dwelling building with a minimum charge of Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).

In each case credit shall be given to the applicant for the number of units being served through an existing sewer connected to the Sanitary District facilities at the time the reconstruction or remodeling of the building then served and/or to be served is commenced.

Where undeveloped property has been within the original boundaries of the Sanitary District and has paid taxes to said The Springfield Sanitary District thereon, the amount of such taxes paid shall be credited against the connection fees as stated above. In such instance, it shall be the obligation of the person desiring such reduction in the ...


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