Case Upholds Ordinance Prohibiting Unregistered Vehicles on Private Property

Author: Brad Stewart
July 24, 2017

In mid-July, the Second Appellate Court upheld the Village of Round Lake Beach’s ordinance which provides: “It shall be unlawful to store any vehicle upon open private land unless such vehicle shall be duly registered for operation on public highways in the state…” Significantly, the Court made its decision on the limited issue of home rule authority which the Village possessed; it did not directly address if a non home rule unit would have the same valid police power.

However, a portion of the decision which addressed the reasonable relationship of the ordinance to a public interest could be cited as strong support for non home rule units to do the same: “It is reasonable to attack the problems associated with unused vehicles by prohibiting the unenclosed storage of vehicle that cannot be driven legally. Thus, the ordinance is a valid exercise of the Village’s police power.”

Our opinion is that this decision is strong support for municipalities to regulate vehicles on private property, but not an unlimited recognition of power. A municipality which already has or would like to implement an ordinance pertaining to inoperable and/or unregistered vehicles in open view on private property, is directed to review the public interest being served (i.e., reduction in vermin infestation, the aesthetics of the community, reduce risk of vandalism) and clearly articulate those interests in adopting or revising a similar ordinance.

Author: Brad Stewart