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Monday, May 16, 2016

Zoning Decision of Municipal Council Not Subject to Administrative Review

Plaintiffs filed an application to develop a 7-lot subdivision in Palatine. The application for rezoning and subdivision approval was first heard by the plan commission, which recommended approval of the application. The plan commission forwarded its recommendation to the village council for final action, and the council denied the development petition. 

Shortly thereafter, the plaintiffs filed an application with the plan commission to "appeal" the village council's denial of its development plan. Village staff responded to the petition for an appeal by informing plaintiffs that the administrative appeal process only applies to appeals of decisions by village staff, and not village council. Moreover, appeals were heard by the zoning board of appeals, not the plan commission. As a result, the appeal was not heard and plaintiffs filed a complaint in administrative review in the circuit court. That complaint was filed 3 1/2 months after the village council denied the development petition.

The trial court dismissed the case on two grounds. First, the court held that the village council's decision to deny the subdivision plan was not an administrative decision, but a legislative one that is not subject to review under the Administrative Review Law. Second, the court held that even if the village council's decision was subject to administrative review, plaintiffs' complaint was not timely filed.

The appellate court upheld the dismissal of the case, finding that the village council's decision denying the subdivision approval was a legislative decision, and therefore not subject to administrative review. The court rejected plaintiffs' argument that the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in Klaeren v. Village of Lisle controlled (i.e., that a decision on a special use is an administrative or quasi-judicial decision). First, the court found that the Plaintiffs' petition for subdivision approval was not a special use petition. Second, and more importantly, the court noted that the Illinois legislature had abrogated or nullified Klaeren's central holding that special use decisions are administrative in nature. The court cited to 65 ILCS 5/11-13-25(a) (adopted in 2006), which specifically provides that all zoning decisions made by the corporate authorities are legislative decisions.

This case is another reminder that zoning decisions of the corporate authorities (city council, village board, village council) are legislative decisions, and are not subject to administrative review.

Post authored by Julie Tappendorf


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