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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bill Would Clarify Municipal Zoning Authority Over Schools

State Senator Pamela Althoff has sponsored a bill that would clarify the zoning authority municipalities have over school districts, an issue that has been the subject of disagreement between municipalities and school districts for some time.  This bill comes in the wake of the very hotly disputed zoning issue between SD #155 and Crystal Lake regarding the school’s desired expansion of its football stadium that we previously reported about on the blog.

Senator Althoff explains the murky zoning relationship between school districts and municipalities as follows:
It was written intentionally to be a little gray so communities could have flexibility on how they wanted to work with school districts, but that’s when life was simpler. Now some schools want to build wind turbines to reduce energy costs. We never anticipated that when the school code was written and revised.
Sen. Althoff’s bill would amend a provision in the School Code to expressly state that school boards must comply with local zoning authority, as follows:
(105 ILCS 5/10-22.13a)
  Sec. 10-22.13a. Zoning changes, variations, and special uses for school district property; zoning compliance. To seek zoning changes, variations, or special uses for property held or controlled by the school district.
A school district is subject to and its school board must comply with any valid local government zoning ordinance or resolution that applies where the pertinent part of the school district is located. The changes to this Section made by this amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly are declarative of existing law and do not change the substantive operation of this Section.
Post Authored by David Silverman, Ancel Glink


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