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Coriell v. Village of Green Valley

OPINION FILED MAY 17, 1977.

HAROLD CORIELL ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,

v.

THE VILLAGE OF GREEN VALLEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Tazewell County; the Hon. WILLIAM J. REARDON, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCOTT DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The village of Green Valley, defendant, appeals from a judgment rendered in the Circuit Court of Tazewell County in which various plaintiff-landowners were granted petitions to disconnect land from the village of Green Valley.

Five petitions to disconnect were filed pursuant to section 7-3-6 of the Illinois Municipal Code 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, sec. 7-3-6). The first two petitions were filed on April 9, 1976, and the fifth petition was filed on April 21, 1976. All plaintiffs were represented by the same attorney. The village of Green Valley filed answers to each petition. The matters proceeded to hearing on June 8, 1976, at which time petitioners' oral motion to consolidate the five petitions for trial was granted without objection by the village of Green Valley (hereinafter referred to as village). The cases were also consolidated for purpose of appeal.

One of the statutory means for disconnecting territory from a municipality provides as follows:

"The owner or owners of record of any area of land consisting of one or more tracts, lying within the corporate limits of any municipality may have such territory disconnected which (1) is not contiguous in whole or in part to any other municipality; (2) contains 20 or more acres; (3) is not subdivided into municipal lots and blocks; (4) is located on the border of the municipality; (5) if disconnected, will not result in the isolation of any part of the municipality from the remainder of the municipality, (6) if disconnected, the growth prospects and plan and zoning ordinances, if any, of such municipality will not be unreasonably disrupted, (7) if disconnected, no substantial disruption will result to existing municipal service facilities, such as, but not limited to, sewer systems, street lighting, water mains, garbage collection and fire protection, (8) if disconnected the municipality will not be unduly harmed through loss of tax revenue in the future." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, par. 7-3-6.

A simple map of the village as of the time of filing is provided. This map was constructed from the abstract and briefs filed on appeal, and the map has been keyed to each petition with letters of the alphabet.

The judgment allowing the petition of Harold Coriell is not challenged on appeal, and land disconnected thereby (some 154 acres) is not an issue in the appeal. That petition was the first to be filed. All petitions were apparently triggered by the village plans for a sewer system and proposed levy of a special assessment to pay for it; none of the petitioners desired to have the lands described in their petitions subject to the special assessment according to comments at the June 8, 1976, hearing noted in the memorandum of decision by the trial court.

This court is not asked to review any findings of the trial court in regard to provisions (1), (3), (6), (7) and (8) of the statute, the same having been disposed of by the pleadings of the parties or the unchallenged findings of the trial judge.

Issues presented upon this appeal are whether:

1. The tracts to be disconnected are located on the border of the municipality;

2. Petitioners may aggregate tracts of land to meet the 20-acre requirement;

3. The presence of highway and railway rights-of-way through or between tracts prevents aggregation of tracts;

4. Disconnection results in isolation of any part of the municipality from the remainder of the municipality;

5. A petitioner may leave some of his tract in the municipality to avoid isolation of parts of the municipality.

We hold that:

1. The tracts to be disconnected are located on the border of ...


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