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Village of Lake Bluff v. Jacobson





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Harry D. Strouse, Jr., and the Hon. William D. Block, Judges, presiding.


Rehearing denied October 25, 1983.

The village of Lake Bluff (Village), a municipal corporation, pursuant to its subdivision regulation ordinance, filed an amended complaint seeking to enjoin construction of a 72-unit apartment building on property outside of but within 1 1/2 miles of its corporate limits. The trial court denied the motion of the Village for a preliminary injunction, finding that there was no just reason for delaying enforcement or appeal of the order. The Village appeals from this order and from a prior order denying a temporary restraining order.

The defendants, the First National Bank of Lake Forest, as holder of legal title to the subject property, Marling Management Company, a proprietorship engaged in the development of the property and Michael Jacobson, an employee of Marling Management (Developer), cross-appeal from certain findings by the trial court contained in its interlocutory order.

The property is located in unincorporated Lake County, in an area referred to in the record as "Knollwood," within 1 1/2, miles of the Village's corporate limits. On December 14, 1982, Marling Management obtained a building permit from Lake County for construction, on the previously undeveloped site, of a three-story 72-unit apartment building with 144 parking spaces. Marling Management also obtained approval for the development from the North Shore Sanitary District, the Lake County public works department, the Knollwood fire department and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Robert W. Marling, the company's owner, testified at the hearing on the preliminary injunction that the company had no intention of subdividing the property and intended to keep the property under its unified development and control and to manage and own the property after construction was completed. The company has not and does not intend to prepare or record any plat in connection with the construction.

As of the hearing date Marling Management had begun grading the property, laying sewer and water pipe in the sewer and water mains, constructing roads and constructing storm drains on the property.

On April 11, 1978, the Village adopted a subdivision ordinance which provided, in part:

"The provisions contained herein shall be applicable to all subdivisions in the Village of Lake Bluff and as to all subdivisions within any unincorporated area lying within one and one-half miles of the corporate limits of the Village of Lake Bluff, this ordinance shall be applicable to all regulations contained herein to the extent permitted by law and the Statutes of the State of Illinois in effect from time to time."

On March 11, 1980, the Village adopted an amendment to the ordinance which read:

"The provisions of this Ordinance shall also apply to all Planned Developments whether Residential, Commercial, or otherwise in nature, and to any other developments whether a Subdivision is required or not under the law, statutes, ordinances or regulations of the governmental body or agency having jurisdiction or control, and regardless of whether the same is labeled a subdivision or not, it being the intent of this ordinance to apply to all types of development, both within the Village of Lake Bluff and to areas lying within one and one-half miles of the corporate limits of the Village of Lake Bluff."

Marling Management did not seek Village approval of the public improvements at the subject property. On January 24, 1983, Robert Marling conversed by telephone with Phyllis Albrecht, the Village president. Marling testified that he told her that the Village was welcome to review Marling Management's plans but that Albrecht declined, and that Marling Management never received any communication from the Village telling it to submit its plans to the Village or stop work on the property. According to Albrecht, she told Marling that the Village felt that it had jurisdiction over the development and that the Village was trying to procure plans from the county. She did not send or authorize sending any notice to defendants advising them not to proceed with construction.

At the hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction, Kenneth E. Long, the Village administrator since September 1981, testified that he had had a brief opportunity to look at the plans for development of the subject property. He noted that some private streets were proposed, although the Village's subdivision ordinance required streets to be dedicated. He was generally familiar with drainage patterns on the property and stated that generally water would flow toward the East Skokie drainage ditch located within the Village. The property was also within the Lake Bluff park district and school district and the Lake Bluff-Lake Forest high school district, all of which, by the Village subdivision ordinance, would have to receive land or cash as a condition for approval. Long did not know whether enrollment was increasing or decreasing in the school district, but admitted that there were plans to close one of the schools in the high school district. He could not say how many children the proposed development would add to the school district.

According to Long, the Village subdivision ordinance makes no provision for storm water detention. The Village building inspection is done by contract with Lake Forest, although the Village engineer inspects public improvements. Long stated that the Village did not provide sewer or water service to the property, although it did provide supplementary fire protection and very limited emergency police protection to the area. The Village does not presently maintain or service any of the ...

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