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Village of Algonquin v. Tiedel

December 31, 2003

THE VILLAGE OF ALGONQUIN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RANDY TIEDEL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
THE VILLAGE OF ALGONQUIN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
MARK BARZYK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 01-OV-1390 Honorable Charles P. Weech, Judge, Presiding. Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 01-OV-1389 Honorable Charles P. Weech, Judge, Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Byrne

UNPUBLISHED

In these consolidated appeals, defendants, Randy Tiedel and Mark Barzyk, appeal the judgment of the circuit court of McHenry County, finding them guilty of failing to obtain permits to hook up to the water system of the Village of Algonquin (Village) in violation of the Village ordinance. We affirm.

The following facts are not in dispute. Defendants are residents of the Algonquin Hills subdivision in Algonquin. On February 2, 2001, each defendant was issued a complaint for failing to obtain a permit by February 1, 2001, to connect to the Village's water system, in violation of "Section 21 Chapter 6A" of the Algonquin Municipal Code. "Section 21 Chapter 6A" of the Algonquin Municipal Code, under which defendants were charged, is generally cited as section 6A.21. See Algonquin Municipal Code §6A.21 (1997).

On July 10, 2002, defendants filed separate motions to dismiss pursuant to section 2--619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/ 2--619 (West 2002)). Defendants alleged that section 6A.21 did not apply to them because it was passed in 1997 and was applicable only to homeowners who had a public water main available then, and no water main existed or was located next to their properties until 2000. Defendants further alleged that the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/1--1--1 et seq. (West 2002)) did not give municipalities the power to require private homeowners to abandon private wells and connect to the water supplies provided by the municipalities. Defendants also maintained that their wells were not contaminated and had not contaminated any surrounding wells and, consequently, mandatory connection was inappropriate. The trial court disagreed and denied the motions to dismiss.

At trial, the parties stipulated to the following: (1) section 6A.21 was passed and in effect as of 1997; (2) if called, a Village official would testify that the Village municipal water supply is superior to a private well; (3) a water main was within 300 feet of defendants' properties in 1999; (4) defendants are receiving the benefits of fire protection in that fire hydrants are now located in their neighborhood; (5) other private wells in the area have failed, due either to lack of water or to contamination; (6) neither defendant had received notice from the Village that his well had been maintained in an unsanitary manner; and (7) Barczyk's well had not been tested was 13 years and Tiedel's had not been tested for 2 years.

The trial court found that protecting the public health and general welfare of the residents of a municipality is a valid exercise of police power and that section 6A.21 was rationally related to the legitimate purpose of protecting the health and safety of the residents of the Village. Accordingly, the court concluded that section 6A.21 was constitutional. The court further found defendants to be in violation of the ordinance. Defendants timely appeal.

On appeal, defendants contend that the trial court erred in denying their section 2--619 motions to dismiss. In particular, defendants assert, as they did below, that section 6A.21 does not apply to them, the Illinois Municipal Code does not give municipalities the power to require abandonment of private wells and connection to the municipal water supply, and a municipality may not require a private homeowner to receive or use the water furnished by a municipality. On an appeal from the denial of a section 2--619 motion to dismiss, our review is de novo. In re Chicago Flood Litigation, 176 Ill. 2d 179, 189 (1997).

Defendants argue that section 6A.21 of the Algonquin Municipal Code does not apply to them because it was passed in 1997 and it does not refer to or anticipate a water main that was constructed in 2000. We reject defendants' argument for several reasons. First, we observe that section 6A.21 is divided into four subsections. Of relevance to this appeal are subsections (A) and (B). In support of their argument, defendants rely solely on subsection (A) of the ordinance, which provides, in relevant part: "The owners of all houses, buildings, or properties situated within the Village in which there is now located a public water main, shall be required to make connection to the public water main." (Emphasis added.) Algonquin Municipal Code §6A.21(A) (1997). Defendants interpret the phrase "now located" to mean that the ordinance is applicable only to homeowners who had a public water main available to them in 1997, when the ordinance was passed. However, tying the phrase "now located" to the date the ordinance was passed would, in effect, render the ordinance inapplicable to any future growth of the Village and would force the Village to pass a new ordinance each time the public water main is extended. Had the Village intended only those homeowners with access to a public water main in 1997 to connect to it, it would have specifically stated so in the ordinance. It is presumed that the legislature did not intend an absurd or unjust result. See In re Marriage of Murphy, 203 Ill. 2d 212, 219 (2003). Moreover, a statute should be read as a whole and construed so that no word, phrase, or section is rendered superfluous or meaningless. Potts v. Fitzgerald, 336 Ill. App. 3d 500, 504 (2003). Defendants' argument ignores basic guiding principles of statutory construction.

Even assuming defendants' interpretation of subsection (A) is correct, defendants disregard subsection (B) of section 6A.21. Section 6A.21(B) provides that the owner of property situated within the Village and abutting any street "in which a public water main is within 300 feet of the nearest property line of the property shall be required to extend the public water main to and across the frontage of the property and make connection as herein provided." Algonquin Municipal Code §6A.21(B) (1997). Defendants stipulated at trial that a public water main was located within 300 feet of their property lines. Their stipulation admits a violation of the Village code. Defendants cannot ignore that they are in violation of the Village code by addressing only subsection (A). A statute should be read as a whole with all relevant parts considered. In re Marriage of Kates, 198 Ill. 2d 156, 163 (2001). We find their argument to be misleading at best.

Defendants argue that the Illinois Municipal Code does not give the Village the authority to require homeowners to abandon private wells and to connect to a public water system. In particular, defendants rely on section 11--125--1 of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/11--125--1 (West 2002)), which states that "[t]he corporate authorities in each city and village may (1) provide for a supply of water by the boring of artesian wells, or by the digging, construction, or regulation of wells, pumps, cisterns, reservoirs, or waterworks." (Emphasis added.)

As in their argument above, defendants focus exclusively on one section of an entire article and propose an interpretation that is both out of context and against canons of statutory construction. First, defendants ignore the general rule in Illinois that the authority for the passage of an ordinance need not be wholly derived from a single grant of power by the legislature, but may be derived from several different grants of power. Father Basil's Lodge, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 393 Ill. 246, 252 (1946). Second, defendants disregard that each part or section of a legislative act must be considered in connection with every other part or section, and not alone, in determining the purpose or intent of the legislature. Castaneda v. Illinois Human Rights Comm'n, 132 Ill. 2d 304, 318 (1989).

Here, when the relevant sections of the legislative act are read together, it has the cumulative effect of granting municipalities, including the Village, the power to both provide and require connection to municipal water systems. Further, section 1--9--1 of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/1--9--1 (West 2002)) states that the "provisions of this Code shall be cumulative in effect." Further, section 11--139--8 provides municipalities with the power to:

"(1) make, enact, and enforce all needful rules and regulations for the acquisition, construction, extension, improvement, management, and maintenance of the combined waterworks and sewerage system of the municipality and for the use thereof, (2) make, enact, and enforce all needful rules, regulations, and ordinances for the care and protection of such a system, which may be conducive to the preservation of the public health, comfort, and convenience and to rendering the water supply of the municipality pure and the sewerage harmless insofar as it is reasonably possible to do so, and (3) charge the inhabitants thereof a reasonable ...

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