COD, Glen Ellyn may settle long-running dispute
A tentative agreement has been reached by the College of DuPage and village of Glen Ellyn over a long-running dispute about jurisdictional matters on the 273-acre campus.
During a closed-door mediation session with DuPage County circuit court Judge Hollis Webster on Tuesday, the two sides hammered out a five-year agreement that would keep COD incorporated within village limits, but it would be under the jurisdiction of the county, officials from both sides said Wednesday.
The college had sought to deannex from the village, citing overbearing control from village-led building inspections. Glen Ellyn officials called COD's peer review process for building inspections "trust me" self-regulation, and argued the village was the proper governmental agency to oversee and approve college building projects.
The deal reached Tuesday -- signed by both COD President Robert Breuder and Village President Mark Pfefferman -- stipulates that COD will continue to pay village taxes and receive village water service at incorporated rates. The county would take over all regulatory control and authority over the college's campus.
Under the agreement, the college would agree to drop its lawsuit originally filed against the village in 2010. The village, which later filed a counterclaim to the suit, would agree to withdraw citations and fines it issued COD for ongoing construction projects.
Judge Terence Sheen issued a 20-page ruling in November stating that COD might be subject to some local codes, but he also said there was overlapping jurisdiction. Sheen was expected to rule on which village ordinances could apply to the college, under a so-called "three-part" test, but he had indicated he was still researching that decision.
However, that will likely be moot should COD drop its suit.
Pfefferman said Glen Ellyn would continue to maintain its roads that run through campus, including Lambert Road and Fawell Blvd. The Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company would still provide service to the college, though COD has the option of switching providers if desired. While the college has an existing police force, the first backup for emergency calls would be the DuPage County Sheriff. Glen Ellyn police would respond on calls for mutual aid.
If the agreement is approved by both the village and college boards, it would remain in effect for five years, with options to renew three more times, for a total of 20 years. At the end of each five-year period, COD can choose to return to the village's jurisdiction, or deannex.
If either party wishes to terminate the agreement, it must provide one year's notice.
The agreement will also go to the county for review and acceptance.
COD officials said in a news release that in the event of de-annexation, both sides have "agreed to terms for such de-annexation in order to avoid future conflict and excessive legal costs." The two sides have spent at least $500,000 on legal fees.
Last year, a new intergovernmental agreement was proposed that would stipulate the degree to which COD would have to comply with village ordinances. But each side disagreed with the other's draft of the agreement, arguing that it would cede away too much control.
In a statement, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said the deal reached between the two sides is "a sound compromise."
"DuPage County government looks forward to strengthening the working relationship with College of DuPage, a core resource in DuPage County," Cronin said.
Pfefferman said that the village's main concern about safety regulations on COD's campus has been addressed.
"The village now has assurances that the county can provide those services," he said. "I believe this agreement is a good one."
Breuder said in a statement that the deal is a good compromise that serves taxpayers well.
"We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with the village going forward," Breuder said.
Glen Ellyn vs. COD timelineApril 2007 -- Village of Glen Ellyn and College of DuPage sign an intergovernmental agreement related to COD's campus expansion and improvement plans.
December 2008 -- COD withdraws from the agreement, arguing it's too one-sided. Village says the deal gave COD loose guidelines.
March 2010 -- COD informs the village it will be installing some 3,900 square feet of signage -- in excess of what is allowed under village code.
June 2010 -- Village issues citations and stop work orders for COD's signage installation. COD files suit in DuPage County circuit court seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the village from issuing further citations. COD argues the village has no jurisdiction in the matter.
July 2010 -- Village issues more citations.
August 2010 -- Village and COD begin mediation to resolve jurisdictional dispute. COD President Robert Breuder says the college is exploring deannexation from Glen Ellyn.
September 2010 -- COD asks the Illinois Community College Board to make a change to its administrative rules that would allow community colleges to be exempt from local permit and zoning codes.
April 2011 -- COD board approves a new intergovernmental agreement with Glen Ellyn, but village officials say new version doesn't include necessary language that would allow the village to enforce local health and safety ordinances.
May 2011 -- Breuder again says COD will pursue deannexation, a day after Glen Ellyn's village board tabled a decision on the agreement. COD's board rescinds its approval.
June 2011 -- Village files a court motion to prevent occupancy of the college's four new or renovated buildings, citing lack of proper certifications.
July 2011 -- COD submits certificates of compliance for four new buildings, per village request.
August 2011 -- Village withdraws its request to prevent occupancy and issues permits. First day of classes held in new buildings.
November 2011 -- DuPage County circuit court Judge Terence M. Sheen issues 20-page ruling indicating that COD may be subject to village approvals, but Sheen stops short of saying either side has complete jurisdiction.
December 2011 -- COD board votes to pursue deannexation from Glen Ellyn. Village inspectors again begin issuing citations and stop work orders for ongoing projects at COD, but Sheen tells them to stop.
Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 -- During a mediation session with Judge Hollis Webster, a tentative agreement is reached that would keep COD within the corporate limits of Glen Ellyn, though it would fall under the jurisdiction of the county.
Sources: Daily Herald archives, Village of Glen Ellyn, College of DuPage