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People Ex Rel. Hazel Crest v. Homewood

OPINION FILED APRIL 4, 1985.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. VILLAGE OF HAZEL CREST, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE VILLAGE OF HOMEWOOD, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur L. Dunne, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE ROMITI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is a quo warrantor action brought on the relation of village of Hazel Crest to challenge the village of Homewood's 1980 annexation of a 125-acre parcel commonly known as the Calumet Country Club. The circuit court of Cook County granted Homewood's motion for summary judgment and Hazel Crest has appealed, contending: (1) Homewood should have been barred by the applicable statute of limitations from challenging the validity of Hazel Crest's 1958 annexation of a portion of 175th Street, an annexation which, if valid, would have rendered Homewood's subsequent annexation of the subject property invalid as an annexation of noncontiguous land; (2) Homewood should be estopped and barred by laches from attacking that 1958 annexation; (3) the 1958 annexation was valid.

We affirm.

As can be seen from the diagram included in this opinion the subject property in 1958 was bounded on the north and east by Hazel Crest. Directly to the west was a parcel of land referred to by the parties as the Rockwell property, unincorporated at the time but annexed in 1972 by Hazel Crest. Hazel Crest bounded the Rockwell property to the west and north. Homewood lies generally south of the subject property, with 175th Street running in an east-west direction between the subject property and Homewood.

On April 22, 1958, Hazel Crest passed an ordinance annexing certain streets and highways as indicated on the diagram. The annexed portions of 167th Street, Park Avenue, 171st Street, Dixie Highway, and Kedzie Avenue were all either on the perimeter of Hazel Crest or, in the case of Park Avenue, within its territory. To the south Hazel Crest annexed 175th Street from Kedzie Avenue on the west to Dixie Highway on the east. As indicated on the diagram, a substantial portion of 175th Street as annexed (3,248 feet out of 7,732 feet, or 42%) did not border on Hazel Crest.

In 1927 a plat of subdivision of a portion of Homewood was recorded with the Cook County recorder of deeds showing the south half of 175th Street adjoining the subject property to be in Homewood. The record contains no ordinance reflecting such an annexation. In 1961 Homewood adopted an ordinance annexing the north half of 175th Street adjacent to the subject property.

In 1968 a dispute arose between Hazel Crest and Homewood concerning which municipality had jurisdiction over 175th Street from Rockwell to Dixie Highway, thus including all of 175th Street adjoining the Rockwell property and the subject property. Hazel Crest communicated to Homewood the opinion of Hazel Crest's attorney that the 1958 annexation by Hazel Crest was valid at least as to the northern half of the street, and that Homewood's subsequent annexation of that northern half was void. The attorney also noted that Hazel Crest's annexation precluded Homewood from annexing the property north of 175th Street. Homewood's attorney concluded that the 1958 annexation was void as to all of 175th Street adjoining the subject property and the Rockwell property because the south side of the street was already part of Homewood and because Hazel Crest's annexation extended beyond its borders in a manner violating the Streamwood doctrine. (People ex rel. Adamowski v. Village of Streamwood (1959), 15 Ill.2d 595, 155 N.E.2d 635.) Homewood's attorney also noted that Hazel Crest's annexation would preclude a future annexation of the subject property by Homewood, and he recommended that Homewood take legal action if the villages could not settle the dispute. Hazel Crest then proposed that both villages void their existing ordinances annexing the pertinent portions of 175th Street and then pass new ordinances in which Hazel Crest would annex the northern half and Homewood would annex the southern half. Homewood declined this offer, stating in a letter from its village manager that the present situation presented no major problems and none were anticipated in the future.

Hazel Crest has alleged in its complaint that since 1969 it has spent "many thousands of dollars" to provide municipal services to the northern half of 175th Street pursuant to a maintenance agreement with the State of Illinois. These services included pavement patching, shoulder repair and grading, drainage maintenance, weed cutting, removal of debris, snow plowing, ice control, and street sweeping. Attached to the complaint is a contract with the State providing that Hazel Crest would undertake such services and also providing for reimbursement of Hazel Crest's expenses by the State up to an amount of $1600.33 for the period covered, June 9, 1969, to June 30, 1970.

On March 11, 1980, the Calumet Country Club filed a petition seeking annexation of the subject property by Homewood and subsequently Homewood adopted an ordinance annexing the subject property and "all adjacent publicly dedicated roadway right-of-way contiguous thereto not now within the Village of Homewood." Hazel Crest then filed this action, asserting that Homewood's annexation was invalid because, by virtue of Hazel Crest's 1958 annexation of the pertinent portions of 175th Street, the subject property was not contiguous to Homewood, as required by statute. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 24, par. 7-1-8.) Homewood in turn challenged the validity of that 1958 annexation and after both parties had filed motions for summary judgment the trial court granted summary judgment for Homewood.

I

• 1 We find no merit to Hazel Crest's contention that the applicable statute of limitations bars Homewood from challenging the validity of Hazel Crest's 1958 annexation. That statute provides:

"Neither the People of the State of Illinois nor any person, firm or corporation, public or private, nor any association of persons shall commence an action contesting either directly or indirectly the annexation of any territory to a municipality unless initiated within one year after the date such annexation becomes final or within one year of the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1965 whichever date occurs latest. This amendatory Act of 1965 shall apply to annexations made prior to the effective date of the Act as well as those made on or after the effective date. Where a limitation of a shorter period is prescribed by statute such shorter limitation applies. The limitation set forth in this section shall apply to any annexation, even where the judge, body or officer annexing the territory did not at the time of such annexation have jurisdiction of the subject matter, and irrespective of whether such annexation may otherwise be defective or void, except that the limitation of this Section shall not apply to annexations of territory which was not contiguous at the time of annexation and is not contiguous at the time an action is brought to contest such annexation." (Emphasis added.) Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 24, par. 7-1-46.

The central issue in this cause is precisely whether the pertinent part of 175th Street was contiguous to Hazel Crest at the time of the 1958 annexation, and therefore ...


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