D155 Loses Bleacher Case in Illinois Supreme Court

Bleachers at South High School's football field.

Bleachers at South High School’s football field.

The Crystal Lake High School District lost its South High School bleacher case in the Illinois Supreme Court today.

The state’s highest court upheld the decision of McHenry County Circuit Court Judge Michael Chmiel.

Here is the conclusion of the Court:

“…we affirm the judgment of the appellate court affirming the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the city of Crystal Lake and decreeing that the Board of Education of Community High School District No. 155 is subject to the City’s zoning and storm water ordinances.”

The reasoning included the follow:

“There is no support for the Board’s contention that the application of local zoning laws to school district property unduly interferes with the General Assembly’s plenary power over public education…

“The issues involved in zoning—the size, height, and location of buildings, setbacks from property lines, and the due process rights of neighboring property owners—are not addressed by a building code. The Health/Life Safety Code is concerned with building and construction standards to protect the health, safety, and welfare of those who use public school facilities. See 105 ILCS 5/2-3.12(a) (West 2012). It does not address the health, safety, and welfare of the community as a whole. The City’s decision not to be notified of building code matters did not waive or diminish the City’s interest in or authority over zoning and storm water management issues on school-owned property. Thus, the Health/Life Safety Code does not preempt or limit the City’s authority over zoning and land use issues within its jurisdiction.

“As a home rule municipality, the City has the power to regulate land use within its jurisdiction through zoning. There is no statute which exempts school district property from the exercise of the City’s zoning laws. Accordingly, we hold that the bleacher construction project undertaken by the Board and the District is subject to the City’s zoning and storm water ordinances.”

The Illinois Supreme Court decision includes these photos.

The Illinois Supreme Court decision includes these photos.

The complete decision may be found here.

The School District’s statement about demolishing the bleachers is here.

The City of Crystal Lake’s reaction is here.


D155 Loses Bleacher Case in Illinois Supreme Court — 15 Comments

  1. I think I represent most readers when I say, “well DUH.”

    Of course they had no right to bypass he city.

    This is incredibly arrogant of the school district to take it this far, and pay thousands of my tax dollars in legal bills.

    And forget the laws for a second, those admins just should have asked themselves, “would I be angry if someone built a 100 foot set of bleachers in my backyard.”

    Since the answer is, uh, “YES” then why even start this charade?

  2. JT sums it up nicely.

    Arrogant is the perfect word choice.

    This arrogance is also reflected in many other decisions by the school board which increase our property taxes.

  3. Too many school districts and other units of government for that matter are used to doing just about whatever they want.

    They routinely do not adequately inform taxpayers about the ramifications of their decisions.

    The difference here was:

    1. The result of the decision was highly visible.

    2. The result of the decision just happened to be close to a property owned by the McHenry County States Attorney.

    3. The result of the decision actually broke the law.

    So if you look at those last two pictures in the article, and see the striking difference, before and after bleachers were built, that’s a good analogy for pensions.

    Your taxpayer future has been altered by politicians.

    But you do not see that every day.

    The hiked pension benefits and salaries have created a big pension IOU for taxpayers.

    It’s invisible.

    But it’s there.

    If there was some way to visibly see every day the future problems these hiked pension benefits and salaries have caused, along with the other benefit hikes, taxpayers would be more worried.

    The government has already burned some bridges, the taxpayers moved.

    Plenty more have simply concluded, kids are out of high school or college, or I retire, I am moving.

    Plenty more have concluded, if it gets too bad, I will move.

    How many bridges will the government burn before something is done.

    Will there be a big exodus at some point creating a market in which there are more sellers than buyers to obtain the desired sell price for a house.

    It’s unknown.

  4. School boards all across the country are extremely arrogant!

    Schools and colleges are also very wasteful.

    One reason they are able to be like this is because the taxpayers are asleep at the wheel.

    It’s hard to find people to run for these board positions and the ones that do, go along to get along.

    We need people to get on boards and Question Everything!

    Hell there are barely people to go or view live streaming of these meetings.

    If there were, these boards wouldn’t be getting away with this stuff.

  5. JT – just to pile on support for the accuracy of your statements, it is arrogance!

    Really driven by unfettered by autocratic power.

    Power does corrupt, even in an education administration.

    I not claiming that the decisions are actually corrupt and making back alley deals for personal or familial gain at all.

    This type of corruption I’m referring to is when someone (or group) has extreme power, they become indifferent to those that may be hurt by their decisions.

    The cliche “with great power comes great responsibility” fits this situation perfectly.

    I can actually believe the decision makers didn’t even consider the impact to homeowners initially – “indifferent arrogance” if there is such a thing.

    While it may have been brought up sometime in the process, I expect it was too far (in their eyes) anyway to change.

    Maybe at that point they thought they could get away with it.

    We pay the administrators and high level decisions a ton of $s.

    If this was the real world (private business) heads would roll.

  6. The waste of the tax payers money involved in this ridiculous decision to build those bleachers only makes it more necessary to consolidate the townships to somewhat help recoup some of the disastrous waste of our tax payers money which I can’t afford to blow on such an unwise & not thoroughly researched decision.

  7. Consolidating townships has nothing to do with this issue.

    I’m afraid most of us do not have a clue about how things are run (including this district and the city according to what to took place here).

  8. Donna you are ignorant of the consolidation deal.

    It’s just a power play by a few, when has bigger gov agencies ever saved a dime?

  9. You live by a school, what did you expect a golf course view!

    See what political people living in a neighbor hood can do.

    This is just a big waste of Tax dollars.

    Deal with it!

    or how about this…..move!

  10. Just a recap, if a the states attorney didn’t live at one if these said residences this would have surely gottsb sweapt under the rug.

    With that said anyone with an ounce of common sense in a brain up of almost entirely fatty tissue would see that the decision to erect those bleachers without zoning permits is irresponsible.

    It just so happens that this time the elected officials were caught red handed and doing something clearly illegal and morally wrong.

    Our nation’s deficit amounts to the same train of thought. Forget the president of the U.S. if you as an individual want to make your opinions and voice heard it starts with your local mayor with your local sherrif and your board members.

    We The People still applies.

    The problem is not enough people are exercising those rights and the officials that are being elected are getting away with things like this everyday because they didn’t have bad luck.

    In this case the bad luck was building those monstrosity bleechers in the backyard of the states attorney.

    Further more, the money alone for the bleechers erections was probably enough for updated books and learning material.

    That’s what school is intended for in the 1st place.

    Extra curricular things such as sports ect should be put on a back burner of alloted already irresponsibly spent hard earned tax payers money.

  11. It’s not the point of living behind the field, my parents have lived here since I was in 8th grade.

    It’s the point the bleachers were further back from there house, and also 15 ft high compared to the 55ft high now.

    All of your arrogance shows, there’s children that are having grown perverted men looking in there windows to the point they don’t even like sleeping it there rms.

    The whole thing boils down to the district broke the law period, the majesty county courts decided that along with the appelite court and the supreme court.

    There’s no other way to say it.

    If it were your home and your property value dropped and your kids no longer feel safe in there home, you’d be reacting the same way fighting for what is right.

    All of you can judge the situation but until you live a day in the life of these people and indure what they have the last 2 yrs all your doing is making yourselves sound like idiots.

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