Appellate Court upholds judgment against IDOT

Ann Knef Jan. 24, 2008, 10:14am

Justice Welch

Fifth Judicial District justices upheld a St. Clair County judge's 2006 order requiring the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to grant an outdoor advertising company permission to put up signs along Interstate 64 in Caseyville.

"We find no discretion vested in the Department (IDOT) to deny a fully compliant permit application," wrote Justice Thomas Welch regarding a suit filed by Outcom, Inc., doing business as Porlier Outdoor Advertising, against IDOT in 2004.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Andrew Gleeson ruled that Outcom had fully complied with the application requirements for sign permits and ordered IDOT to issue them without further delay.

IDOT, represented by lawyers for state attorney general Lisa Madigan, appealed.

The appellate court decision was issued Jan. 22. Justices Bruce Stewart and Stephen Spomer concurred.

"The circuit court did not err in entering a judgment directing the Department to issue to Outcom the outdoor-advertising permits," Welch wrote.

Outcom sued in November 2004 after IDOT denied its application to put up two signs in an area that had been annexed into the village in 2003 and zoned industrial.

IDOT argued that prior to the proposed site's annexation into the village, the use of the site had been agricultural, even though a commercial radio tower and attendant structure existed on the site for more than 40 years.

IDOT also argued that signs are not allowed on land which has not been continuously used for "business, commercial, or industrial"
purposes. In its denial of the permits, IDOT ruled that the presence of the radio tower and attendant structure did not constitute a use of the land for "business, commercial, or industrial" purposes.

Outcom argued that IDOT improperly denied its application and sought an order of mandamus directing IDOT to issue the necessary permits.

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