The Stringent Takings Test for Impact Fees in Illinois: Its Origins and Implications for Home Rule Units and Legislation
Hartzler, Lisa Harms
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Many Illinois municipalities impose exactions, or impact fees, on new housing developments. Appropriate impact fees offset the anticipated financial burdens on government created by a resulting increase in population, such as a need to build wider roads or add schools. The validity of these fees, however, is subject to a unique and especially stringent standard under the Illinois Constitution’s Takings Clause. Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the federal constitution and most other state court interpretations of their respective constitutions, an impact fee in Illinois must be “uniquely and specifically attributable” to the burdens it creates for a local government. This article traces the origin and the development of this stringent standard by Illinois courts and how it differs from the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretations under the classic takings cases Nollan and Dolan. It argues that the stringent standard applies with equal force to non-home rule and home rule units, and that, in Illinois at least, municipal legislative acts must also meet the strict standard.