Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur
L. Dunne, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Defendant, the village of Wilmette, granted a special use permit with exceptions to Shoreline Place, Inc., defendant, allowing Shoreline to construct an apartment building in an area zoned for townhouse residences. Plaintiffs, Rosemary York et al., reside in the area where the building will stand. Plaintiffs brought an action against defendants in the circuit court of Cook County. Plaintiffs sought a declaration that the village's grant of the permit was invalid and an injunction preventing Shoreline from constructing the building. The trial court upheld the validity of Wilmette's grant of the special use permit, dismissed several counts of plaintiffs' complaint, and found for defendants on all remaining issues. Plaintiffs appeal, contending that (1) Wilmette did not follow its own ordinances in granting the special use permit, (2) the trial court's judgment was against the manifest weight of the evidence, and (3) the special use permit was not viable six months from the date that it issued.
The lot on which Shoreline proposed to construct its apartment building lies on the north side of Linden Avenue in Wilmette halfway between Third and Fourth streets. The lot is 100 feet wide by 196 feet long and contains 19,600 square feet. The village zoned the land for townhouse residences. The lot is essentially flat and is the only undeveloped land in the immediate vicinity.
Shoreline proposed to construct upon the site a housing facility for the elderly. The facility would be a five-story building in the shape of a block "I" that would contain 44 dwelling units, consisting of 11 efficiency apartments, 32 one-bedroom apartments, and 1 two-bedroom apartment. The building would be 44 1/2 feet tall, 72 feet 4 inches wide at its north and south facades, and 100 feet long. The east wall of the building would lie 40 feet from the front door of its immediate neighbor.
Single-family residences, including rowhouses and townhouses, border the lot immediately to the north. Rowhouses and townhouses border the lot immediately to the east. Businesses border the lot to the west, and the Chicago Transit Authority's elevated train terminal, yard, and parking lot border the lot to the south.
On October 20, 1983, Shoreline applied to Wilmette for a special use permit to construct the building. The Wilmette zoning board of appeals held hearings and subsequently recommended that the village board grant the permit. On March 20, 1984, the village board enacted ordinance No. 84-0-10, which granted a special use permit with exceptions to the zoning code's requirements for that zoning district. The ordinance provided, in pertinent part, as follows:
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the President and Board of Trustees of the Village of Wilmette, Cook County, Illinois:
Section 2: That the Director of Community Development of the Village of Wilmette is hereby authorized and directed to issue a Special Use Permit to permit the construction of a 44-unit apartment building for housing for the elderly * * * subject to the following conditions and exceptions:
1. The building may consist of five stories and the building height may reach, but not exceed, 44 feet, six inches (these limitations being exceptions to the otherwise applicable limitations of 2 1/2 stories or 35 feet, whichever is less);
2. The floor area ratio may reach, but not exceed, 1.71 (such limitation being an exception to the otherwise applicable ratio of 0.8);
3. A variation of 7 feet, 6 inches is granted from the side yard requirements for the east side of the property;
4. A variation of 7 feet, 10 inches is granted from the side yard requirements for the west side of the property;
5. A variation of 73 parking spaces is granted with respect to the number of parking spaces which would otherwise be required;
6. All parking spaces may be provided outside the building (which constitutes a variation from the provisions of the zoning ordinance which would otherwise require that some of the ...