Willow-Pfingsten neighbors voluntarily drop lawsuit against Glenview

Neighbors of the former Hart Estate property in Glenview who had filed suit against the village a little more than two years ago over zoning have voluntarily dismissed the claim, the plaintiffs announced Wednesday.

At issue in Sullivan, et al vs. Village of Glenview was Ordinance 2856, passed in 1988, concerning the rezoning of the bulk of the property to a B-1 local business district. A public hearing was held at the time, but the property was not actually rezoned.

In May 2019, GW Properties of Chicago filed an application for a site plan and subdivision to develop the Hart Estate and, in January 2020, purchased the 8.55-acre property for $5.75 million to develop the Willows Crossing Shopping Center, proposed to include a 35,000-square-foot grocery store, three multi-tenant buildings and 2.35 acres maintained as stormwater retention.

The plaintiffs, a group of nearby residents of the property, contended the property had been rezoned without a public hearing.

The residents initially filed suit against the village in September 2019 on the basis that there was no proper legal notice of the 1988 zoning change for the plot and that it also was "prohibited contract zoning."

The circuit court judge dismissed the suit in December 2019; in November 2020, an appellate court panel overturned the decision after finding the property was zoned R-1 residential since being annexed by the village in 1988 and R-1 was its only legally recognized zoning since 1988. The appellate court remanded the case back to the trial court with instructions.

Supporting their argument, plaintiffs on Wednesday cited a statement in a signed affidavit by Glenview Village Manager Matt Formica: "Ordinance 2856 had no effect and did not rezone the Hart Property."

The official village zoning map was updated to reflect the R-1 residential zoning status and includes a reference to the appellate court ruling, the plaintiffs noted.

The resident group also points to a village determination that an ordinance granting final site plan review approval, passed by the board in January 2020, was no longer valid.

GW Properties in December 2020 requested a zoning change to B-1 business and R-4 residential. In public hearings this spring - first by the Glenview Plan Commission and then by the village board - the developer's zoning request and site plan were denied, which spurred GW Properties to sue the village. That case is pending.

"As their primary goals have been achieved, the plaintiffs are voluntarily dismissing their case but reserve the right to refile, if needed," the plaintiffs said in a news release.

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