Before addressing the merits of the appeal, we must first consider three motions which have been taken with the case by previous order of this court. The first, filed by plaintiffs on December 31, 1986, requests leave to amend their notice of appeal to conform to the technical requirements of Supreme Court Rule 307(a) (87 Ill. 2d R. 307(a)) by changing the caption to specify that the appeal is interlocutory in nature. Defendants oppose this motion, arguing that under Supreme Court Rules 303(c)(4) and 303(e) (103 Ill. 2d Rules 303(c)(4), 303(e)) it is untimely. We need not decide the matter, however, for it can have no possible effect on the resolution of this appeal.
APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT
508 N.E.2d 1080, 155 Ill. App. 3d 889, 108 Ill. Dec. 503 1987.IL.650
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. Edward C. Ferguson, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE HARRISON delivered the opinion of the court. KARNS, P.J.1, and WELCH, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HARRISON
Plaintiffs, Nameoki Township, the commissioner of highways of Nameoki Township, and the Long Lake Fire Protection District, appeal from an interlocutory order of the circuit court of Madison County dismissing those counts of their complaint which sought an injunction to restrain the annexation of certain property belonging to defendant Granite City Steel Division of National Steel Corporation (Granite City Steel) by the city of Granite City and the township of Granite City. For the reasons which follow, we affirm and remand for further proceedings.
At the time of the events giving rise to this litigation, the property which is the subject of the dispute was located in an unincorporated area within the boundaries of Nameoki Township. A portion of it was also part of the Long Lake Fire Protection District. The property was contiguous to the city of Granite City which, in turn, embraced the township of Granite City. It was owned by Granite City Steel, and no electors resided there. On July 11, 1986, Granite City Steel notified plaintiffs of its intention to petition the city council of the city of Granite City for annexation of the property to that municipality pursuant to sections 7-1-1 and 7-1-8 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 24, pars. 7-1-1, 7-1-8). Because the township of Granite City was embraced within the city of Granite City, the effect of such an annexation would have been to disconnect the property from Nameoki Township, remove it from the Long Lake Fire Protection District, and make it a part not only of the city of Granite City, but also of the township of Granite City. (See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 139, par. 127.) The petition was filed with the municipal clerk of the city of Granite City on July 15, 1986, and was to be presented to the city council the following week on July 22, 1986.
On July 17, 1986, plaintiffs filed a nine-count complaint in the circuit court of Madison County regarding this proposed annexation. Named as defendants were the mayor of Granite City, the municipal and township clerk of Granite City, the aldermen and township trustees of Granite City, and the supervisor of the township of Granite City (hereinafter referred to collectively as Granite City), Granite City Steel, the county clerk of Madison County, and the Madison County recorder of deeds. In the complaint, all three plaintiffs alleged that they had not been given proper notice of the proposed annexation as required by section 7-1-1 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 24, par. 7-1-1) and were therefore denied a reasonable opportunity to respond to the annexation petition before action was taken on it. Nameoki Township and its commissioner of highways each further alleged:
(1) that the description and map of the property to be annexed, attached as exhibits to the annexation petition, were vague and ambiguous;
(2) "that special tax considerations were given to Granite City Steel by the City of Granite City and Granite City Township to the detriment of other taxing bodies, contrary to an agreement entered in 1985, by said taxing bodies, and against public policy and the Illinois Revenue Code";
(3) that annexation would make part of Nameoki Township a "small island"; and
(4) that annexation would substantially destroy Nameoki Township's tax base and end its viability as a governmental entity.
Based upon the foregoing allegations, plaintiffs' complaint requested a temporary restraining order (counts I through III) and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief (counts IV through VI) to block the proposed annexation, as well as a declaratory judgment (counts VII through IX) holding the annexation attempt to be illegal and invalid. No action was taken to procure a temporary restraining order, but on July 21, 1986, the day before the scheduled city council meeting, a hearing was held on plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. At that hearing, Granite City and Granite City Steel moved to dismiss the complaint under section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-615) on the grounds that it failed to state a cause of action. Following arguments by counsel, the circuit court ruled that the complaint did not allege sufficient facts upon which to base an injunction, but did show that plaintiffs had an adequate remedy at law, namely, quo warranto. Accordingly, the court dismissed those counts of the complaint relating to injunctive relief, allowed plaintiffs to proceed on their counts for a declaratory judgment, and granted plaintiffs leave to amend the ...