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Municipal Law and Land Use

Our Practice

Our Municipal Law and Land Use Practice offers strong capabilities across the full spectrum of sophisticated land development, zoning, and land use issues. We are vigorous and effective advocates for our clients, whether they are property owners fighting proposed developments, developers seeking municipal approval for their projects, or municipalities confronting eminent domain issues.

We represent Chicago area and other municipalities in matters involving land use, ordinance preparation, annexation and disconnection, environmental issues relating to development, and municipal litigation. Our lawyers regularly negotiate and draft redevelopment agreements and update existing ordinances for Chicago area communities and municipalities. Additionally, our counsel to municipalities, park districts, libraries, boards of police and fire commissioners, and fire protection districts includes obtaining essential governmental permissions for their projects.

For municipal clients, tax increment financing (TIF) is a valuable tool in funding redevelopment projects. We have been especially successful in leveraging TIF to help clients realize a range of such projects.

As the demand for cellular, broadcast, and fiber optic communication services continues to rise, we regularly advise municipal clients on such telecommunications issues as FCC compliance, underground wiring requirements, and zoning regulations of radio/digital cellular tower placement.

Developers, public companies, and other private sector clients rely on our extensive experience in the design, development, and approval of large commercial, industrial, residential, and mixed-use land use projects. We help them identify the land use approvals needed for their projects, arguing on their behalf before such local regulatory bodies as village boards, planning commissions, zoning boards of appeal, citizens' groups, and county boards. Our experience in the full range of zoning entitlements encompasses everything from zoning amendments and map amendments to special uses, variations, plats of resubdivisions, and TIF.

Our lawyers boast an exceptional degree of success in securing municipal and zoning approvals for commercial and residential projects from virtually every ward in the City of Chicago, as well as from various regional municipalities. Builders, subcontractors, lenders, buyers, sellers, and municipalities have all benefited from our successful litigation of actions involving zoning, environmental, annexation, disconnection, eminent domain, tax, real estate, and environmental issues. Testimony from our network of knowledgeable land planning, traffic, landscape design, engineering, and land valuation professionals often contributes to successful outcomes and results for our clients.

Our Experience

  • Represented a national department store chain in connection with zoning work related to the development of signs for a store in Deerfield, Illinois.
  • Represented a special use developer in connection with obtaining appropriate zoning approvals to build approximately a dozen single family homes in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
  • Represented a large home builder in connection with the creation of a special services area in the Western suburbs.
  • Represented an industrial property owner in obtaining zoning approvals to permit expansion of its facility, including receipt of city and state subsidies and other entitlements, such as special real estate tax treatment in an Enterprise Zone.
  • Negotiated redevelopment agreements for a private developer in Dallas, Texas for major retail, residential and parking developments.
  • Negotiated public/private partnerships for the development of public parking structures.
  • Obtained numerous land use approvals and permits for commercial projects, residential developments, and pollution control facilities.
  • Received zoning amendment, special use and variation approvals from the Zoning Board of Appeals and Committee on Zoning, City of Chicago, including for the expansion of a food processing facility in the Near South Side community of Chicago as well as for a mixed-use retail and residential development in Chicago's Northcenter neighborhood.
  • Obtained residential planned development and lakefront application approvals from the Chicago Plan Commission and the Committee on Zoning, City of Chicago, for a 56-unit, multi-story residential building in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood.
  • Obtained $6 million TIF approved from the City of Chicago for the expansion of a publicly traded company in downtown Chicago.
  • Successfully negotiated and drafted significant redevelopment agreements with a number of area municipalities.
  • Secured municipal approval for a creative mixed-use commercial/residential land plan for four distinct and unique housing types and a neighborhood scale shopping center on a site originally zoned for office and research development.
  • Collaborated with a well-known land-planning firm to help a municipality with a comprehensive update of its zoning ordinance to conform to current state law.
  • Defended two Chicago area villages in actions brought by landowners seeking zoning relief from the courts after being denied approval by the municipalities.
  • Worked with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to resolve a sewer connection issue for a suburban Chicago village seeking annexation and zoning permissions for a 50-acre residential project.
  • Assisted a municipal client in providing a new and rejuvenated downtown area by using municipal eminent domain powers, comprehensive land use design regulated by a thorough development agreement covering the client's land acquisition and TIF funding to complete the project.
  • Negotiated numerous cable franchise agreements on behalf of municipal clients.
  • Successfully appealed a claim by a public works contractor against a municipality.
  • Successfully defended a suburban Chicago village in a suit involving a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute regarding an involuntary annexation, or taking, of property. Illinois courts upheld the statute's constitutionality at both circuit and appellate levels.