APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
WADSWORTH (Alyda Mini et al., Petitioners-Appellants, v.
The City of Waukegan, Respondent-Appellee)
506 N.E.2d 677, 154 Ill. App. 3d 54, 106 Ill. Dec. 877 1987.IL.403
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Fred A. Geiger, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE HOPF delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and REINHARD, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HOPF
Petitioners own property located in unincorporated Lake County. They appeal from the trial court's order which dismissed their annexation petition and denied their motion to amend the affidavit. The trial court ruled in favor of the respondent, the city of Waukegan, because the petition lacked a signed affidavit required by section 7-1-4 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 24, par. 7-1-4). Petitioners contend on appeal that the Code allows amendments prior to the hearing on the petition's validity and that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to allow petitioners to amend their affidavit.
Petitioners filed an annexation petition on December 3, 1985, wherein they requested the annexation of certain territory to the village of Wadsworth. As required by the Code, they published notice of the hearing on the petition in the local newspaper and mailed notices to the appropriate public officials. An affidavit, attached to the petition, indicated that the allegations in the petition were true. The affidavit, while notarized, did not designate the affiant nor was it signed.
On December 17, 1985, one property owner moved the court to exclude his property from the petition. The court allowed his motion and eliminated his property from the petition.
Respondent filed its objections to the annexation petition and moved to dismiss the petition on December 26, 1985. On February 18, 1986, petitioners moved to amend the affidavit alleging that they had inadvertently attached an unsigned affidavit to the petition and retained the signed copy. They sought to submit the original signed affidavit. After a hearing on the motions, the trial court dismissed the petition, denied petitioners' amendment, and denied petitioners' motion for rehearing.
Petitioners' first contention is that the Code allows amendments to correct inadvertent errors prior to the hearing on the petition's validity. We agree with this contention, as our review of the Code reveals that it does not preclude amendments to the petition prior to the hearing on its validity.
Sections 7 -- 1 -- 2 through 7 -- 1 -- 4 of the Code describe the annexation process before consideration by the corporate authorities of the annexing municipality. Section 7 -- 1 -- 2 states in relevant part:
"A written petition signed by the majority of the owners of record of land in such territory, and also by a majority of electors, if any, residing in such territory, shall be filed with the circuit court clerk of the county in which the territory is located . . .. The petition or ordinance, as the case may be, shall request . . . that the circuit court of the specified county submit the question of the annexation to the corporate authorities of the annexing ...