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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Court Finds No Common Law Dedication of Detention Pond to City

An Illinois Appellate Court recently ruled in favor of a municipality in a dispute between the municipality and homeowners as to the ownership and responsibility over a detention pond on the homeowners properties. Reich v. City of Lake Forest. 

Two adjacent property owners filed a lawsuit against the City claiming that the detention pond that straddles their two lots had previously been dedicated to the City through a "common law" dedication when the subdivision was first built and, as a result, the City was responsible for maintaining the pond. The City argued that there was no evidence that the developer of the subdivision intended to dedicate the pond to the City, nor any evidence that the City ever accepted the pond as a public improvement. The circuit court ruled in favor of the City, finding no evidence of dedication where neither the plat of subdivision nor the subdivision agreement referenced the dedication of the pond to the City. The court also noted that the City had not taken any action to maintain the pond over the years. On appeal, the appellate court agreed and upheld the ruling in favor of the City, finding no evidence that the developer of the subdivision had any intent to dedicate the pond to the City. Because the court found no evidence of donation, it did not address the issue of whether the City accepted the pond because the court noted that there can be no common law dedication in the absence of donative intent.

Disclaimer: Ancel Glink represented the City in this lawsuit and appeal.


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