Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable MARY CONRAD, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication May 5, 1994.
Buckley, Campbell, Manning
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Buckley
JUSTICE BUCKLEY delivered the opinion of the court:
This appeal arises from a condemnation action brought pursuant to village ordinances and home rule powers and filed by plaintiff Village of Skokie to condemn a gasoline station, three vacant lots and a partially vacant building for redevelopment. The subject property is located on the southeast corner of Dempster Street and McCormick Boulevard in Skokie, Illinois. Defendants Harry and Bessie Gianoulis and Amoco Oil Company filed traverses and motions to dismiss, alleging, inter alia, that the taking was excessive, unnecessary and an abuse of discretion. Defendant King David Kosher Bakery was allowed to join in the traverses and motions to dismiss. The circuit court directed a finding, striking the three residentially-zoned vacant lots within the subject property from the condemnation petition because they were outside the East Dempster Street Redevelopment (EDSR) area. Plaintiff filed a motion to reconsider of that finding, which was denied. Then, after hearing argument on the traverses and motions, the circuit court found in favor of defendants and accordingly granted their traverses and motions to dismiss. Now, plaintiff appeals both the circuit court's order directing a finding in favor of defendants and the order of dismissal.
THE EAST DEMPSTER STREET REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
In 1984, plaintiff's village manager Robert Eppley submitted the "East Dempster Street Redevelopment Study, June 1984" to the mayor and the village board of trustees. The study was completed by a task force comprised of representatives from plaintiff's planning, engineering, legal, finance, and management departments. The study contained several recommendations regarding the use of vacant land and development of existing uses, engineering design and roadway, parking and aesthetic improvements. On December 17, 1984, after several public hearings, plaintiff adopted ordinance No. 84-12-T-1675 incorporating the findings and recommendations of the task force and establishing and authorizing the East Dempster Street Redevelopment in
"the area bounded by Kildare Avenue on the west, the alley, or extension thereof, one-half block north of Dempster Street on the north, McCormick Boulevard on the east and the alley, or extension thereof, one-half block south of Dempster Street on the south."
The EDSR project area consisted of 29 blocks of commercial real estate fronting Dempster Street, including 140 store fronts.
The 1984 ordinance summarized the goals of the EDSR Plan as follows: (1) street widening and improvements, (2) off-street parking improvements, (3) landscaping, signage and building facade improvements, (4) economic redevelopment of existing properties which would benefit from upgrading, (5) adoption of the East Dempster Street Sign Regulation Ordinance and (6) elimination of deteriorated vacant structures.
A. Redevelopment Component of the EDSR Plan
Although, plaintiff's village board did not pass any ordinance establishing the criteria to be used by the task force in developing the EDSR plan or in designating property for acquisition and redevelopment, the following criteria was used for determining designation of redevelopment parcels: (1) appearance and physical condition of the site; (2) if vacant, time period of vacancy; (3) current negative impact on surrounding property; and (4) potential for redevelopment in terms of size of property and general location. Using the above criteria, the task force determined that plaintiff needed to acquire Herm's Palace at the northeast corner of Dempster and Forest View, Mr. Submarine at the northeast corner of Dempster and Monticello, the former Spicer's Restaurant at the northeast corner of Dempster and Hamin, and Gulliver's Restaurant at the southeast corner of Dempster and Central Park, along with adjacent parcels on the east half of that block. The above-proposed acquisitionswere necessary because Herm's Palace was unattractive, Mr. Submarine exhibited a lack of adequate maintenance and housekeeping, and Gulliver's Restaurant had been damaged by fire and was suffering from lack of maintenance. Plaintiff ultimately acquired the Mr. Submarine and the Gulliver's Restaurant parcels, which were then sold and redeveloped. It did not, however, acquire Herm's Palace or Spicer's Restaurant. Instead, these properties were privately redeveloped.
B. Roadway Improvement and Parking
The roadway improvement component of the EDSR plan took place in two phases. The first phase, the widening and improvement of Dempster Street from Keystone on the west to Ewing on the east, began in 1985 and resulted in the removal of on-street parking along East Dempster Street. The second phase, improved the section of Dempster Street to McCormick Boulevard in 1987 and 1989.
The EDSR plan also called for the acquisition of specific properties for the construction of municipal on-street parking. By February 18, 1986, three parcels of property were acquired for construction of public parking lots. Plaintiff acquired Ches's Restaurant and constructed a parking lot at 3401 Dempster Street. According to the plan, this lot would resolve all off-street parking needs for the commercial uses for the south sides of blocks 28, which is from Trumbull Avenue to Kimball Avenue, and 29, which is from Kimball Avenue to McCormick Boulevard. The subject property is located in block 29.
C. The Aesthetic Component of the EDSR Plan
In 1986, the aesthetic portion of the EDSR plan was carried out. It included a "facade rebate" program which provided up to a 30% rebate in order to encourage the private sector to upgrade existing facilities. Additionally, it provided rebates for trash areas, parking lot modifications and other property-related items. Although Skokie solicited ...