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Hagee v. City of Evanston

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 8, 1980.

JOSEPH HAGEE ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES AND CROSS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE CITY OF EVANSTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. NATHAN COHEN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MCGLOON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiffs brought an action seeking to enjoin the city of Evanston from revoking a building permit and refusing to issue occupancy permits. The trial court held that Evanston was estopped from revoking the permit and granted the relief requested on the condition that Hagee comply with requirements set forth in the order. Evanston appeals.

On appeal, Evanston contends that (1) it was not estopped to revoke the permits, and (2) plaintiffs were precluded by the Administrative Review Act from seeking injunctive relief.

We affirm.

Joseph Hagee (Hagee), Reed Mitchell Hagee and Raymond Jump planned to build townhouses on the southwest corner of Ashland Avenue and Central Street in Evanston, Illinois. The development was to be called Central Place. According to the original plans, Central Place was to consist of 15 townhouses. Six townhouses were to be located in the two buildings on the corner lot. The western portion of the project, separated by a building owned by the National Foundation of Funeral Services, was to contain nine units.

The property is zoned for B-2 business use. No dwelling space is permitted below the second floor of any building located in a B-2 district. Other provisions of the zoning code relevant to this appeal are as follows: a yard five feet in depth is required where, as here, the side or rear lot line of the property is adjacent to a residential district; on reverse corner lots contiguous to residential lots, as is the property in question, accessory buildings cannot be located within 25 feet of the rear lot line; and 1 1/2 parking spaces are required for each dwelling unit in townhouse developments.

On September 8, 1978, Evanston issued a building permit and construction commenced. In October or November 1978, John T. Allen, an Evanston alderman and member of Evanston's planning and development committee, spoke to a constituent who questioned Central Place's compliance with the zoning code. In November or December 1978, Allen was contacted by Wendell Adair, another member of the planning and development committee, who also questioned the construction. Adair formerly challenged the building's compliance with the zoning code at the Zoning Amendment Committee hearing in early December 1978. Also present at the meeting was John Young, director of the department of amendments and appeals. Young transmitted the objections to William Dettmer, director of the department of inspections and permits in whom the final authority of enforcement and interpretation of zoning ordinances was vested.

Dettmer testified at the hearing below that he thereafter met with Hagee and his architects on December 18, 1978. At the meeting Dettmer informed Hagee that there were objections based on the proposed use of the lower level, the side yard setbacks, and the number of parking spaces per unit and their locations. Hagee was advised that he either could appeal the matter to the zoning board of appeals or change the plans to reflect compliance with the zoning code.

Kurt Koentopp, one of Hagee's architects who assisted in the planning of Central Place, testified that as a result of the December 18 meeting, the following changes were made on the plans:

(1) Ashland Avenue was designated as the front lot line so that the side setback requirement could be met;

(2) the setback on the south side of the east units was changed from zero to five feet;

(3) the designation on the plans was changed from "townhouses" to "multi-family" so that the parking space requirement would be met;

(4) the first floor description was relabeled "office"; and

(5) a concrete bumper was shown in the garage so that cars would not park within 25 ...


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