APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RAYMOND
K. BERG, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE BUCKLEY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This is an appeal from a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County holding the zoning ordinance of the Village of Skokie invalid as applied to plaintiffs' land and authorizing construction on that land of a multifamily, four-story building with up to 51 apartment units. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.
The subject property, located on the north side of Church Street between Drake Avenue and East Prairie Road in the Village of Skokie, is held under Trust No. 52404 by Chicago Title and Trust Co. for the benefit of Edward J. Sackley, Joseph A. Kogen and Harold H. Sitron. It is narrow and deep, measuring 146 feet in width and approximately 366 feet in length, and is more fully described as:
"The East 146.0 feet of the West 737.0 feet of Lot 11 in County Clerk's Division of the Northeast quarter of Section 14, Township 41 North, Range 13, East of the Third Principal Meridian in Cook County, Illinois."
This property is currently zoned in the B-1 Service Commercial District under the Skokie Zoning Ordinance, and the two buildings situated on it are used for commercial purposes.
The plaintiffs petitioned Skokie for a rezoning of the property to permit development of a 4-story apartment building containing 51 units, a use compatible with Skokie's then-existing R-4 zoning classification. The petition was denied and this action was commenced. Subsequently, Skokie abolished its R-4 zoning classification.
The land uses and zoning districts surrounding the subject property were found by the trial court to be as follows:
"The entire North side of Church Street, including the subject property, beginning with the corner parcel on the Northeast corner of Drake and Church Street and extending East therefrom beyond East Prairie Road to Ewing Avenue on the East is zoned B-1, Service Commercial District, within which districts are found the following existing and/or permitted uses; the Northeast corner of Drake and Church Streets contains a parcel approximately 81,145 square feet in size which abuts the West line of the subject property and contains a single-family structure with a rear garage. This parcel may now, by reason of a declaratory judgment entered on May 4, 1973, and thereafter amended by the Circuit Court of Cook County in the case of Schmitt, et al. v. Village of Skokie, No. 69L3362, pursuant to Opinion and direction of the Appellate Court on May 5, 1972, in Appellate Court Case No. 55338, reported 6 Ill. App.3d 177, 285 N.E.2d 202, be used for a use consistent with the R-4, Multi-Family Residential Zoning classification under the Skokie Zoning Ordinance as in effect at the time of the filing of this cause, to wit: a four-story multi-family building, 36 feet in height with 80 apartments consisting of such apartment mix as the builder shall elect, with no less than 160 parking spaces, of which 128 are to be underground.
To the East of the subject property is a larger parcel up to and including the Northwest corner of Church Street and East Prairie Road, upon which is a shopping center about seven years old with a major chain food store and other commercial uses. Although the last of the stores in that center has, after a seven-year vacancy, been recently rented at a rental less than that generally charged for commercial facilities in the Village of Skokie and particularly those in proximity to a major chain food store, there were from time to time within the center vacancies of long standing. On the Northeast corner of East Prairie Road and Church Street are several retail uses, including a retail liquor store and a variety of small stores.
On the North side of Church Street, beginning at the Northeast corner of Church Street and Ewing Avenue and extending to the East boundary of the Village is an area zoned R-3 for two-family residential use also containing two attached townhouses.
Immediately across from the subject property on the South side of Church Street beginning at Drake Avenue and extending Eastward to Ewing Avenue is an area zoned B-1 in which are located seven residential structures, each containing four townhouses or apartments consisting of 28 units in total of a density of approximately 1,300 square feet of lot area per unit, a density comparable to that formerly permitted under the R-4 zoning category of the Skokie Zoning Ordinance. At the Southwest corner of East Prairie Road and Church Street are some service facilities and on the Southeast corner extending to Ewing Avenue is a strip of retail stores (some vacant) of various uses, including a liquor store.
Directly to the East of the afore-described B-1 area on the South side of Church Street, beginning at Ewing and extending to the Village limits on the East and in part to Davis Street and in part to Dempster Street on the South is an area zoned R-3 for two-family residences and so used.
On Ewing Avenue North of the B-1 zone is an area zoned R-3 and developed with two flats. To the North and West of the subject property is an area zoned R-1, Single-Family and so used."
At trial, plaintiff Edward J. Sackley testified that in January 1974, he lost the prior tenant of the subject property because of, among other things, objections by the Village of Skokie regarding the tenant's alleged misuse of the property. Sackley stated that he made extensive efforts to find a new tenant, offering to build to suit, but no suitable commercial tenant could be found and the property remained vacant for 10 months. In October 1974, according to Sackley, he rented the property to the present tenant at a rental of about half that paid by the previous tenant and providing ...