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Lake County Board of Review v. Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

May 6, 2013

THE LAKE COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW, Petitioner,
v.
ILLINOIS PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD and ONWENTSIA CLUB, Respondents.

Held[*]

In an action arising from a dispute over the assessment of property related to a golf course, the Property Tax Appeal Board’s assessment of respondent taxpayer’s golf course property, including the land improved with a swimming pool, a stable, tennis courts, a parking lot and a clubhouse, as open space subject to the fair value of land used for openspace purposes was vacated and the cause was remanded to the Board for reconsideration based on the statute’s contemplation that the open-space classification should be applied only to land that is actually a landscaped area and land that directly relates to and facilitates or conserves the existence of the landscaped area.

Petition for review of order of Property Tax Appeal Board Nos. 06- 00614.001-C-3, 06-00614.004-C-3.

Michael J. Waller, State's Attorney, of Waukegan (Tara H. Ori, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel), for petitioner.

Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, of Chicago (Michael A. Scodro, Solicitor General, and John P. Schmidt, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel), for respondent Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

Stephen Novack, Timothy J. Miller, and Brian E. Cohen, all of Novack and Macey LLP, of Chicago, for respondent Onwentsia Club.

Ares G. Dalianis, Michael J. Hernandez, and Scott R. Metcalf, all of Franczek Radelet, P.C., of Chicago, for amici curiae.

Panel JUSTICE HUDSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Burke and Justice Jorgensen concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HUDSON, JUSTICE.

¶ 1 I. INTRODUCTION

¶ 2 In Onwentsia Club v. Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, 2011 IL App (2d) 100388, an earlier appeal in this case, we vacated a decision of the Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB), construed section 10-155 of the Property Tax Code (Code) (35 ILCS 200/10-155 (West 2006)), and remanded to allow the PTAB to make additional findings. The PTAB has now done so and issued a decision finding substantial portions of land owned by respondent Onwentsia Club (Onwentsia) to be open space within the meaning of section 10-155. As a result, such land is to be valued "on the basis of its fair cash value, estimated at the price it would bring at a fair, voluntary sale for use by the buyer for open space purposes." 35 ILCS 200/10-155 (West 2006). Petitioner, the Lake County Board of Review, now appeals. We hold that the PTAB's application of the relevant portion of section 10-155 is overbroad; accordingly, we vacate and remand for further proceedings.[1]

¶ 3 II. BACKGROUND

¶ 4 In our original disposition of this matter, we set forth the following background information, which we repeat here to facilitate an understanding of this appeal:

"The facts in this case are largely undisputed. [Onwentsia] is a private golf club located in Lake Forest. The club occupies about 180 acres of land, which is divided into 10 tax parcels. Most of the land consists of an 18-hole golf course. However, other portions of the land are occupied by a swimming pool, clubhouse, horse riding area, ...

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