An Illinois Appellate Court recently affirmed a decision finding that the relocation of a new highway, to which the property in question formerly had access, was not a material impairment of the property. In so finding, the Appellate Court followed a scenario previously hypothesized in a previous Illinois Supreme Court decision.

Specifically, the Plaintiffs brought suit after Peterson Road, near its intersection with Route 60, was relocated 400 feet to the southeast. The relocation process left a small portion of former Peterson Road, now known as Behm Lane. As a result of relocation, Behm Lane now ended in two cul-de-sacs, but still retained a point of access to the newly constructed Peterson Road.

In holding that there was no material impairment of the property by the relocation, the Appellate Court found that the effect of relocating Peterson Road neither placed the plaintiffs’ property “on a blind court nor reduced the points of entry.” The court further noted that plaintiffs’ property “never had direct access to Route 60” and therefore the plaintiffs’ access to Route 60 could not have been materially impaired by the relocation of Peterson Road.

Interestingly, the court also found that this scenario was analogous to a hypothetical in a past Illinois Supreme Court case, which stated that there would not be a material impairment where “a new limited-access highway is constructed that leaves the property fronting an old-highway that has been turned into a secondary road for a new highway.”

Local governments should take note of this interesting takings challenge when encountering similar issues.

Michael J. Smoron

Authors: Michael J. Smoron, Jacob Caudill