Since the Illinois General
Assembly convened in mid-January, several bills concerning zoning and land use
have been introduced that may be of interest to our readers. We have summarized a few of these bills below and will provide timely updates as they make their way through
the legislative process.

House Bill 4213 – Accessory
Dwelling Units

Bill 4213
was introduced during the General Assembly’s veto session in
November, and if passed would create the “Local Accessory Dwelling Unit Act.”
The bill seeks to limit local government authority, for both home rule and
non-home rule units, to prohibit the building or use of accessory dwelling
units (ADUs). However, the bill makes clear that local governments may provide
reasonable regulations relating to the size and location of ADUs similar to
other accessory structures, so long as the regulations do not “have the effect”
of prohibiting them outright.

Senate Bill 2716 – Judicial
Review of Zoning Decisions

Bill 2716
 seeks to amend Section 11-13-25 of the
Illinois Municipal Code to limit the authority municipalities have when
considering zoning decisions, including special use and variance applications,
text amendments, and map amendments. The first part of the bill proposes that
zoning decisions should not be considered legislative decisions, but rather
administrative decisions, meaning these zoning decisions would be subject to a different standard of review if challenged in court. The second part of the bill
provides for “protection against disregard of the decision-making body’s own
ordinances or regulations,” which, if enacted, would appear to be an attempt to limit the exercise of home rule authority.

Senate Bill 2881 – Annexation

Bill 2881
seeks to limit municipalities’ ability to annex property. If
passed, the bill would require any land subject to an annexation agreement to
be contiguous (directly touching) to a municipal boundary. The
bill creates uncertainty regarding the status and validity of existing
pre-annexation agreements for properties that are not yet contiguous to a municipal
boundary, and invites differing interpretations that could result in litigation
over these agreements’ terms and conditions.

Additionally, the bill would
significantly restrict communities from using annexation agreements to address a
variety of issues that have long been regulated by agreement, such as local
land use regulations, contributions of land or money to government bodies who
are impacted by potential development, and property tax abatements. The bill
contains an express list of topics municipalities are not allowed to address
in annexation agreements, including mandatory rezoning and terms regarding
“nonspecific, future” development projects.

Senate Bill 3680 – Crime-Free

Bill 3680
seeks to amend the Illinois Municipal Code to prohibit local
governments from adopting crime-free housing ordinances. The bill, which
contains express language clarifying it would apply to limit home rule
authority, prohibits any “program, ordinance, resolution, or other regulation”

  • Penalizes landlords or tenants,
    guests, or others for contact with law enforcement;
  • Requires or encourages landlords
    to evict tenants or household members for contact with law enforcement, a
    criminal conviction, or alleged unlawful conduct;
  • Requires or promotes the use of
    criminal background checks for current or prospective tenants;
  • Defines nuisance behavior to
    include contact with law enforcement;
  • Requires tenants to secure
    certificates of occupancy as a condition for leasing rental housing or turning
    on utilities;
  • Creates or promotes the use of a
    registry of individual tenants for the purposes of discouraging or prohibiting
    renting to particular tenants;
  • Penalizes tenants, guests, or
    other for contacting the police or emergency services; or
  • Requires a crime-free lease
    addendum that sets forth limitations on any of the above activities.

Many municipalities have
regulations concerning crime reduction in housing that would be affected if this bill passes.

Post Authored by Erin Monforti
& Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink