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Monday, September 14, 2015

Owner not Entitled to Compensation for Relocation of Access Road

The owners of a 686 acre property applied for and obtained PUD approval to develop the property as a mixed use residential and commercial development north of Peterson Road and east of Route 60. Shortly after the PUD approval, Lake County undertook a construction project that relocated Peterson Road about 400 feet to the southeast, renamed it to Behm Lane, and replaced a portion of the renamed road with a dead end cul-de-sac. 

The owners sued, claiming that as a result of the construction project, vehicles could no longer access the new Behm Lane via Route 60, impairing access to the proposed commercial area of the approved development. The owners alleged that the impaired access was an unconstitutional "taking" of their property and they were due compensation. 

The county filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that damages that result from the exercise of police power to regulate and control traffic were not compensable under an Illinois Supreme Court case from 1975. The county also argued that there was no "impairment" of access, just a changed traffic pattern. Plaintiffs countered that vehicles no longer had access directly from Peterson Road and there was no direct access to Route 60.

The trial court ruled in favor of the county, finding that since the owners still had access, no damages were due to the owners. The appellate court agreed, holding that the owners were not due any compensation for the change in access.  First, the court noted that "[n]ot every limitation of access is compensable." The standard is "material impairment of existing direct access."  In this case,because the owners still had access to Behm Lane (former Peterson Road), the relocation of that road did not materially impair the owners' property.  DWG Corporation v. County of Lake, 2015 IL App (2d) 131251  

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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