In 2016, a property owner try to buy a portion of a nearby right-of-way abutting the owner’s property in order to make the area of the owner’s property large enough to subdivide into two lots without requiring a zoning variance. In 2018, the municipality agreed to vacate a portion of its right-of-way to the owner in exchange for $80,000 and an easement guaranteeing the municipality continued public use and access to the vacated right-of-way. That same year, the municipality approved the vacation ordinance, which authorized vacating part of the subject right-of-way, and a subdivision resolution, which approved a preliminary and final play for the subdivision of the combined owner’s property and the vacated portion of the right-of-way.
Later in 2018, several residents filed a lawsuit against the municipality challenging the legality of the street vacation and subdivision of the property. Both the trial court and appellate court ruled against the residents in Boros v. Village of Oak Brook
First, the court rejected the residents’ claim that the vacation ordinance does not serve the public interest, finding that the ordinance helped settle ongoing litigation between the owner and the municipality, alleviated the municipality’s financial burden of maintaining underused and unimproved land, allowed for the productive development of the property, among several other reasons that collectively demonstrated that the ordinance served the public interest.
Next, the court rejected the residents’ claim that the vacated land fell under the public trust doctrine, finding that doctrine inapplicable because the state did not deed the vacated land to the municipality, and the municipality followed the vacation process set forth in state statute.
The court also rejected the residents’ claim that the compensation received by the municipality was insufficient since the compensation was based on a number of factors, including the compensation paid to the municipality as well as the value of retained easements allowing the public continued access and use.
Finally, the court found that the residents lacked standing to challenge the subdivision approval because plaintiffs’ failed to demonstrate either an actual injury or a legally cognizable interest.
Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink