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City of Joliet v. Snyder

December 19, 2000

THE CITY OF JOLIET, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
DONALD N. SNYDER, JR., DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, LINDA RENEE BAKER, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, AND RAY MOTA, CHAIRMAN OF THE ILLINOIS CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT BOARD, ALL NAMED IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES. DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court for the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois No. 00--CH--301 Honorable Herman S. Haase Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Breslin.

Not Released For Publication

Plaintiff City of Joliet (City) brought this action against defendants Donald N. Snyder, Jr., Linda Renee Baker and Ray Mota, all named in their official capacities (collectively State), seeking a declaratory judgment that the State is required to seek a permit under a City zoning ordinance before renovating a detention facility to house sexually violent persons. The City also sought an injunction to stop the State from continuing its renovations and a mandamus to force the State to apply for a permit. The trial court granted the State's motion to dismiss. We affirm and hold that a municipality may not force the State to abide by a zoning ordinance requiring the State to apply for a special permit where the State is carrying out a statutory duty encompassing a statewide concern.

FACTS

In 1997, the City amended a local zoning ordinance to prohibit correctional centers and detention facilities in industrial zoning districts unless specifically approved through the issuance of a special use permit following public notice and a hearing. See Joliet Code of Ordinances, No. 8730, §§ 47-14.2A, 47-14.3 (amended 1997). In early February of 2000, the City learned through press reports that the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Capital Development Board (CDB) were spending over $500,000 to renovate the Joliet Annex for use in housing sexually violent persons under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (Commitment Act) (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (West 1998)).

The Joliet Annex was built in 1895 and served as a women's prison until 1933. It was then converted to a prison for men and also served as DOC's reception and diagnostic center until 1972. The Joliet Annex was than used for administrative purposes until 1979 when it was renovated. It was reopened in 1981 and again served as DOC's reception and diagnostic center. The Joliet Annex currently sits in an industrial zoning district.

The Commitment Act provides for the civil commitment of persons found to possess a mental disorder that predisposes such persons to commit acts of sexual violence. 725 ILCS 207/5, 10 (West 1998). A person committed under the Commitment Act is placed in the care and custody of DHS. 725 ILCS 207/40 (West 1998). These persons are committed to secure facilities operated by DHS and provided by DOC. 725 ILCS 207/50 (West 1998). DHS must provide by rule for the nature of the facility, the level of care to be provided and the custody and discipline of persons in the facility. 725 ILCS 207/50 (West 1998).

Upon learning of the State's plans, City officials notified various State officials that the proposed facility was no longer permitted as of right in the industrial zone in which it was located and that the State would have to apply for a special use permit. When the State refused to apply for a permit, the City filed an action in the circuit court seeking a declaration that the State was required to comply with the special use procedures set forth in sections 47-14.2A and 47-14.3 of the Joliet zoning ordinance. *fn1 See Joliet Code of Ordinances, No. 8730, §§ 47-14.2A, 47-14.3 (amended 1997). The suit also sought injunctive relief to prohibit the State from operating the facility and sought a writ of mandamus to force State officials to apply for the permit.

The trial court granted the State's motion to dismiss and the City appeals.

ANALYSIS

Because the trial court dismissed the City's complaint based upon the doctrines of laches and equitable estoppel and for failure to prove the elements necessary for the issuance of an injunction, the court never determined whether the City has authority to force the State to abide by the City's zoning ordinance. Due to its dispositive nature, we turn first to this issue.

As the State correctly suggests, this court may affirm the trial court's judgment on any basis appearing in the record. People v. Williams, 143 Ill. 2d 477, 577 N.E.2d 762 (1991). The issue of whether the City may force the State to abide by its zoning ordinance is a question of law which we review de novo. Kedzie & 103rd Currency Exchange, Inc. v. Hodge, 156 Ill. 2d 112, 619 N.E.2d 732 (1993).

Under the Illinois Constitution of 1970, any municipality with a population over 25,000 is a home rule unit. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, §6(a). A home rule unit may exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its "government and affairs" including the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare. The General Assembly has the power to provide specifically by law for the exclusive exercise by the State of any power or function of a home rule unit. Ill. Const. 1970, art. VII, §6(h). The City of Joliet qualifies as a home rule unit.

Division 13 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Municipal Code) (65 ILCS 5/11-13-1 et seq. (West 1998)) authorizes a municipality to adopt ordinances dividing the territory within its limits into various zoning districts and to establish standards within those zones to which structures and land uses shall conform. Section 11- 13-1.1 of the Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/11-13-1.1 (West 1998)) states that any municipality may provide in its ordinances passed under Division 13 for the classification of special uses and may include public and quasi-public uses "affected with the public interest." A special use shall be permitted ...


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