Law School Case Brief
Twigg v. Cty. of Will - 255 Ill. App. 3d 490, 194 Ill. Dec. 405, 627 N.E.2d 742 (1994)
Zoning is primarily a legislative function, and it is within the province of local governmental bodies to determine the use of land and to establish zoning classifications. Accordingly, a zoning ordinance will be deemed constitutional and its validity upheld if it bears any substantial relationship to the public health, safety, comfort or welfare. A party challenging the validity of a zoning ordinance must establish both the invalidity of the existing zoning ordinance and the reasonableness of the proposed use of the property. The party challenging the ordinance has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the application of the ordinance to the property is unreasonable and arbitrary and bears no substantial relation to public health, safety, morals, or welfare. An appellate court may not reverse the trial court's findings unless such findings are against the manifest weight of the evidence. The trier of fact is in a better position to assess the credibility of the witnesses and their opinions, and the reviewing court may not reverse simply because the reviewing court may have come to a different conclusion.
PlaintiffsJohn and Anna Twigg proposed to divide their 25 acres into two 10-acre lots for one son and their daughter, and to split the last 5 acres into two lots of 2 1/2 acres each for themselves and their other son. Because plaintiffs' plans for the five acres did not conform with the county's A-1 classification, which required a minimum of 10 acres per residential unit, they petitioned the Will County board to rezone the five acres from A-1 to E-2, which permitted country residential lots of 2 1/2 acres. The board denied the owners' application, but the trial court granted them declaratory and injunctive relief, finding that enforcement of the zoning ordinance was arbitrary and bore no substantial or reasonable relation to public health, safety, morals, comfort and general welfare was not contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. After the trial court declared the county zoning ordinance was declared void and unconstitutional as applied to the property of plaintiff owners and granted injunctive relief to restrain the county from enforcing its A-1 agricultural zoning regulation to the owners' land, Defendant county appealed.
Are there sufficient grounds to declare the zoning ordinance void and unconstitutional?
The appellate court affirmed the trial court's order, which declared the zoning ordinance unconstitutional and issued an injunction enjoining the county from prohibiting the owners from building as proposed. Using an eight-prong test to determine whether the zoning ordinance was valid, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment declaring the ordinance void and unconstitutional as applied to the owners' property and enjoining the county from prohibiting the building of two residences on the five-acre parcel as proposed.
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