We reported previously on HB 2186, a bill that proposed to amend the Municipal, Township, Counties, and School Code regarding zoning of public schools. Just last week, the Governor signed the legislation into law.
P.A. 99-890 confirms that local governments have authority to apply and enforce their zoning regulations on schools, consistent with the Illinois Supreme Court's ruling in the Crystal Lake bleachers' case.
Unfortunately, the proposed legislation goes much further than just clarifying that ruling. The law places new limits on local zoning authority that could create both administrative and procedural problems for local governments. The law requires local governments to modify and streamline their otherwise applicable zoning procedures for public schools. These procedures could require local governments to reduce their otherwise required application fees and limit the required number of copies of plans and other documents required to be submitted by the school district. Presumably, these costs will now be borne by the local zoning authority rather than the school district that is requesting zoning approval. The legislation also requires the local government to expedite the zoning process. The law only applies to public schools, which might implicate constitutional protections if a local zoning authority is statutorily required to treat public schools more favorably than private schools.
This legislation raises a lot of unanswered questions for local zoning authorities, none of which has been answered in the bill signed by the Governor.
To read our comprehensive analysis of this legislation, visit this post.
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf