Mahoney, Silverman & Cross, LLC

Partner James Murphy Successfully Defends Property Dedicated to the Village of Manhattan

Partner James Murphy successfully defends property dedicated to the Village of Manhattan against Republic Bank of Chicago in the Third District Appellate Court.

If a private party dedicates property to a public entity, acceptance of this offer acts as a donation to the public. Our law partner, Jim, James Murphy represented the Village of Manhattan against Republic Bank of Chicago before the Third District of the Illinois Appellate Court. On May 15, 2015, the Court ruled in favor of the Village.

Republic Bank of Chicago held the mortgages for the Stonegate Subdivision and the Tramore Subdivision in the Village of Manhattan. From late 2007 to early 2009, with the consent of Republic Bank, the plats for these proposed subdivisions were recorded. Within each plat, roads were identified and noted with “(hereby dedicated)” and “(heretofore dedicated)” to the Village of Manhattan. In addition, easements for storm water drainage, public utilities and emergency access were “reserved for and granted to the Village of Manhattan.” Neither subdivision was ever completed.

In April 2012, Republic Bank filed complaints to foreclose on roads and outlots in these subdivisions. The Village filed motions to dismiss. In their motion, the Village argued that these roads and common areas had been dedicated to the Village and Republic Bank had consented to this dedication. The Village formally accepted the dedication in February 2013. The trial court granted the motions to dismiss and held that the dedication acted as “a conveyance in fee simple as donated to the public.” In other words, these roads and common areas had been donated to the Village.

On appeal, Republic Bank argued that these roads had not been properly dedicated. In the alternative, if they had been properly dedicated, Republic Bank could foreclose on them. In their decision, the Third District Appellate Court discussed the intention and effect of dedication. A private party may dedicate property to a public entity. The Plat Act, 765 ILCS 205/1.01 et seq., governs statutory dedication and two requirements must be satisfied: First, the property owner must record the plats and mark the portions donated to the public. Second, the public entity must accept the dedication.

By noting “(hereby dedicated),” the property owner, with the consent of Republic Bank, had expressed their intention to donate these portions of this property to the Village. The offer had not been withdrawn and the Village had accepted the dedication. Both requirements of statutory dedication had been satisfied and Republic Bank could not deny the validity of the dedication. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision.

Read the Appellate Opinion here: Republic Bank of Chicago v. Village of Manhattan, 2015 IL App (3d) 130379.

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