Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Francis Barth, Judge Presiding.
Petition for Leave to Appeal Denied October 6, 1994.
Hartman, DiVITO, McCORMICK
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hartman
JUSTICE HARTMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
This appeal emanates from the denial of the perimeter objection to the City of Park Ridge's annexation of the subject property over the owner's objection. For reasons which follow, we reverse and remand with directions.
The Park Ridge City Council (City) adopted an ordinance initiating these annexation proceedings pursuant to section 7-1-2 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Code) (65 ILCS 5/7-1-2 (West 1992) (amended 1993 *fn1) (section 7-1-2)). The subject property was the only property sought to be annexed. The property, consisting of approximately 4.5 acres, is located at the northeast corner of Dempster Street and Potter Road. It is improved with mixed retail shopping and office uses. No persons reside within its boundaries. It is contiguous with and adjacent to the City and no part of it is contained within the boundaries of any other municipality. A copy of the map of annexation is included as an appendix to this opinion. The City filed its petition to annex with the circuit court.
American National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, as Trustee under Trust No. 65213 (landowner), did not consent to the annexation and filed a timely perimeter objection to the annexation petition pursuant to section 7-1-3(4) of the Code (65 ILCS 5/7-1-3(4) (West 1992) (section 7-1-3(4))), setting forth the following reasons: (1) its property is "located on the perimeter of the territory sought to be annexed," (2) it did not desire annexation, and (3) such exclusion would "not destroy contiguity between the corporate boundaries of [the City] and any other property sought to be annexed."
The circuit court overruled the landowner's perimeter objection, finding: (1) the landowner's property and the property sought to be annexed by the City is one and the same property; (2) the landowner's property is not located on the perimeter of the territory to be annexed, but rather constitutes all of the territory to be annexed; and (3) a grant of the landowner's perimeter objection would destroy contiguity of the property and the City. The court then ordered the property annexed to the City.
The parties agree that the only issue before this court is whether, under section 7-1-3(4), a perimeter objection is available to a landowner whose property constitutes the entire territory which a municipality seeks to annex. This is an issue of first impression.
The legislature alone has the authority to allow the alteration of municipal boundaries by annexation or otherwise. ( In re Petition to Annex Certain Territory to the Village of North Barrington (1991), 144 Ill. 2d 353, 361, 579 N.E.2d 880, 162 Ill. Dec. 66.) The court's function is limited to addressing questions relating to the execution of the annexation statute. ( Village of North Barrington, 144 Ill. 2d at 361-62.) A circuit court's findings as to the statutory requirements will not be disturbed on appeal unless they are contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Village of North Barrington, 144 Ill. 2d at 362.
Section 7-1-2 provides in part that "the corporate authorities of a municipality may initiate [annexation] proceedings by enacting an ordinance expressing their desire to annex the described territory." Section 7-1-3 sets forth the objections which may be filed to these annexation proceedings, of which subsection (4) is involved here, as follows:
"After the filing of the petition but not less than 5 days prior to the date fixed for the hearing, any interested person may file with the circuit court his objections * * * (4) that the objector's land is located on the perimeter of such territory, that he does not desire annexation, and that exclusion of his land will not destroy the contiguity of such described property with the annexing municipality." (65 ILCS 5/7-1-3 (West 1992) (section 7-1-3).)
The section 7-1-3(4) perimeter objection was timely filed.
In construing the language of section 7-1-3(4), our supreme court recently held that the words "such territory" and "such described property" contained therein refer to the territory to be annexed as described in the annexation petition. ( Village of North Barrington, 144 Ill. 2d at 363-64.) Accordingly, a perimeter objection is available where (1) the objector's land is on the perimeter of the territory to be annexed, (2) the objector does not desire annexation, and (3) the exclusion of the objector's land will not destroy the contiguity of the territory to be annexed with the annexing municipality. ( Village of North Barrington, 144 Ill. 2d at 363-64.) Where these conditions are met, the perimeter objection is available as a matter of right ( In re Petition to Annex Certain Real Estate ...