COD, Glen Ellyn back in court
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:11AM
DuPage County Circuit Judge Hollis Webster declared moot May 30 a motion made by the College of DuPage in its ongoing battle with the village of Glen Ellyn.
The motion was an effort to get the court to enforce the intergovernmental agreement between the two parties, which college officials felt was being violated, at least in spirit, by village officials participating in DuPage County zoning hearings.
“The counsels have met at some length in the chambers,” Webster said after an hour and 10-minute session in her private chambers. She declared the motion “moot and unnecessary at this time.”
Webster went on to say that attorneys from both sides understood the ground rules of the agreement negotiated with her assistance earlier this year.
“The attorneys understand the parameters of the agreement,” COD Attorney Ken Florey said after the session.
Florey recognized that village officials had a right to attend DuPage County zoning hearings, but stressed that Webster’s instructions were that any code violations that occurred before the agreement was signed were not to be held against the college.
“We expect they will continue to come to meetings,” Florey said.
COD President Robert Breuder said that when the agreement was finalized it was understood that Glen Ellyn would “step back and defer to DuPage County” in matters of zoning and codes.
Glen Ellyn Village Attorney Stewart Diamond said that the village was satisfied with Webster’s ruling.
“We will continue our efforts to work with and cooperate with the college,” he said.
Diamond also agreed with Florey’s assessment that the agreement resolved all previous permit violations against the college, most of which were the result of the college not submitting to the village review process for construction permits.
The two-year battle over just which government’s codes the college was obligated to satisfy seemed to be over when the two sides signed the agreement which provided that the college would stay incorporated within the village of Glen Ellyn but follow the ordinances and codes of DuPage County.
The parties had been at odds over the permitting and review processes the college was supposed to adhere to, especially in its efforts to refurbish the Glen Ellyn campus.
COD had insisted that it was part of the Illinois university system and therefore obligated to satisfy the Illinois Community College Board’s concerns, not those of Glen Ellyn.
But a November 2011 ruling by DuPage Judge Terence Sheen said that the college was indeed obligated to live with Glen Ellyn code, as long as a particular ordinance was related to village government and didn’t conflict with a state statute.
Sheen’s ruling directed the two parties to work out compromises over their differences or return to court to seek further mediation.
After COD’s board voted to begin the process of deannexing from Glen Ellyn and the village began issuing citations for work done without a Vvllage permit, the agreement was reached under Webster’s guidance and the issue seemed to be settled.
But at a May 10 meeting of the DuPage County Planning and Zoning Board, Glen Ellyn officials, and a couple hundred Glen Ellyn residents, weighed in with misgivings about aspects of the ongoing construction at COD, as well as the college’s plans for the future.
The college interpreted the actions to be an attempt to exert indirect control over a zoning process that was now a matter to be settled between COD and the county, and so filed a motion May 26 in DuPage County Court to have the agreement between the college and Glen Ellyn enforced.
While peace seems to have broken out again, it remains to be seen the level of the village’s participation in the county zoning process.
It is understood by both parties that village officials will attend zoning meetings, but still unclear is what level of participation the college will find acceptable.
Glen Ellyn Village Manager Mark Franz made it clear that the village would honor the agreement that past violations would not be held against the college, but insisted that village officials had the right to comment on any issue they felt impacted Glen Ellyn residents.
“They are not off the table,” he said of past issues. “We are going to continue to raise these concerns.”
The next meeting of the DuPage County Zoning Board of Appeals is June 7.