APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
532 N.E.2d 955, 177 Ill. App. 3d 839, 127 Ill. Dec. 126 1988.IL.1892
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Fred A. Geiger, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE WOODWARD delivered the opinion of the court. DUNN and McLAREN, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WOODWARD
The plaintiffs, as the owners and contract purchasers of a vacant 4.9-acre parcel of property located in the Village of Barrington, brought suit against the Village of Barrington seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Following a bench trial, the trial court found that the zoning classification of the property for single-family residential uses was invalid, but found that plaintiffs' proposed use of the property for a commercial office building was unreasonable. The plaintiffs appeal.
The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the trial court's decision that plaintiffs' proposed use for the property is unreasonable and, therefore, is against the manifest weight of the evidence. We affirm the decision of the trial court.
The subject property is a 4.9-acre, irregularly shaped, vacant parcel of land located between Washington and Valencia Streets on the west side of Northwest Highway, a regional arterial highway, in the Village of Barrington. The west boundary of the subject property extends along Northwest Highway. A part of its north boundary extends along Valencia Avenue from Northwest Highway. The balance of the subject property is adjacent to the rear yards of single-family residences, except that the southeast corner of the property abuts a vacant lot.
The subject property is a low area, a collection point for storm water for the block bounded by Washington Street on the south, North Avenue on the west, Valencia Avenue on the north, and Northwest Highway on the east.
The subject property is zoned under the Village zoning ordinance as part of the R-7 single-family residential district. The Village zoning ordinance provides for various residential classifications ranging from R-1, a very low density residential classification, to R-9 and R-10, which permit multiple-family use. Each zoning classification mandates certain setback requirements which delineate how far the building must be set back from the property line.
The Village has also adopted a comprehensive plan. The plan was most recently amended in 1986. The plan recommends that the subject property be developed with a multiple-family planned unit development with a density not to exceed 10 dwelling units per acre. The plan recognizes that the subject property has a potential for "encroachment in the neighborhood if improperly developed" and recommends that a certain percentage of the land be maintained as open space.
The plaintiffs propose to build a three-story commercial office building with floor space of approximately 96,000 square feet. Underground parking for approximately 108 cars would be provided with surface parking for approximately 241 cars also provided. The available parking exceeds the requirements of the Village ordinance.
Plaintiffs applied to the Village to rezone the property from the existing B-7 single-family classification to a B-4 business district classification. As part of their request, plaintiffs also sought a reduction of the rear setback requirement under the B-4 zoning from 100 feet to 49 feet, for a distance of 90 feet along the west property line, and the side setback requirement from 50 feet to 42 feet, for a distance of 72 feet along the south property line.
The Village denied plaintiffs' application for rezoning. Thereafter, plaintiffs filed the instant lawsuit seeking to have the Village's zoning ordinance declared unconstitutional insofar as it prohibits the development of an office building as proposed by plaintiffs and to have the Village enjoined from enforcing its ordinance against the subject property. Plaintiffs also sought the issuance of all necessary permits for the construction of the office building and sought that the Village further be enjoined from interfering with plaintiffs' use of the subject property.
The case proceeded to bench trial on January 4, 1988.
Colin Regan, a real estate developer and broker, testified on behalf of plaintiffs. He is the president of plaintiffs' real estate developer, The Regan Group, Inc. He stated that while there is vacant commercial office space available at various locations in the Village, the competing office space does not share the combination of features which make the proposed office structure unique in the Village of Barrington. The combination offered by the proposed structure is: location on a major arterial highway; availability of underground parking; new construction; high quality of construction; location in Lake County, as opposed to Cook County; designed to accommodate large uses; floor sizes in excess of 25,000 square feet; and proximity to central business district.
On cross-examination, Regan conceded that there was a substantial amount of vacant office space already available in the Village. Other than an informal survey of office occupancies in the Barrington area, he did no other market or feasibility study for this project. He could not say whether the available vacant office space offered the same amenities contemplated by the plaintiffs' proposed building.
Ronald C. Flubacker, a registered professional architect, testified on behalf of plaintiffs. He was engaged by plaintiff, the Regan Group, to design an office building and improvements to be constructed on the subject property. He does not have an interest in the property. Flubacker's own residence is west and slightly north of the subject property.
Flubacker prepared a site study location map. The subject property is surrounded by single-family zoning. Across Northwest Highway are business properties, a shopping center, a two-story office building, American Can Company, and the Barrington public library. South and southwest of Washington Street are R-9 and R-10 areas which contain duplexes and apartment buildings. The apartment building has a height of three stories.
In connection with the proposal made to the Village, Flubacker constructed a model of the proposal. The proposed building is a three-story, brick-faced steel structured building. The first floor is slightly larger, allowing for a one-story roof and then the upper two floors. It is sympathetic in architectural context to the Barrington public library. The building is landscaped with a boundary trim that is elevated up the side wall of the building about three feet to further diminish the visual impact of the building. All the parking is buffered with berming or dense landscaping in order to minimize its impact to passersby and to provide a green environment to set off the image of the building. The building is 35 feet tall, which is a permitted height under the B-4 zoning ordinance.
The detention zone is to be in a landscaped park-like setting that would fill up with storm water as it was collected in the general area, and then would run dry as that water was allowed to drain into the Northwest Highway system.
As to the building's proximity to the residences nearby, Flubacker stated that on the south side, the nearest point is in excess of 200 feet, about 203 feet. On the north side, about 203 feet to 205 feet. Although Flubacker considered 200 feet to be a substantial distance between the proposed building and the residential property, they had developed a series of landscaping ...