Ronald S. Cope


Practice Areas


  • University of Chicago, J.D.
  • University of Chicago, B.A.

Bar Admissions & Licenses

  • Illinois Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Ronald Cope practices in the areas of zoning, land-use, municipal law and litigation for the firm. He has extensive experience in the creation of Tax Increment Financing districts, the establishment of special assessments and special service areas, the creation of business districts and redevelopment areas and the condemnation of land for public use.

Ron has represented many clients, both private and governmental, in land use matters including the creation of planned unit developments and annexations, defending sand mining, hydraulic fracturing, drafting new zoning ordinances, and planning and funding redevelopment projects and town centers. He also has provided counsel to numerous municipalities and private developers.

Recent Development and Economic Incentive Transactions:

  • Currently working on zoning for drug and alcohol addiction facility.
  • Represented County and developer in defending a 151-wind turbine wind farm against challenges to the zoning and actions for various forms of damage. This is more than a $400 million wind farm development.
  • Represented corporation in development of ethanol plant with the issuance of $44,000,000 Tax Increment Financing Bonds in Northwestern Illinois.
  • Represented wind farm developer in the siting of a 90-turbine wind farm in Hamilton County, Kansas.
  • Represented municipality and wind farm developer in the siting of a 72-turbine wind
  • farm in Thomas County, Kansas.
  • Represented Village in Business District Redevelopment Plan financing for redevelopment of regional shopping center in DuPage County.
  • Represented Village in Redevelopment Plan for resort property with the total issuance of $9,400,000 General Obligation Bonds in DuPage County.
  • Represented Village in creating Special Services Areas with total issuance of $48,000,000 Special Service Area Bonds in Kendall County.
  • Represented City in Redevelopment Plan financing with issuance of $16,250,000 Special Tax Refunding Bonds (2014)
  • Represented City in Redevelopment Plan financing with issuance of $15,605,000 Special Tax Refunding Bonds (2015)
  • Work on complex annexations involving combinations of intergovernmental agreements and economic incentive agreements and the creation of Special Service Areas for the development of regional shopping center in the Northwest Chicago suburbs.
  • American Wind Energy Association
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • Illinois Municipal League Committee of Home Rule Attorneys
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America © 2018 in the fields of Land Use and Zoning Law; Litigation - Land Use and Zoning; and Real Estate Law
  • Listed in Best Lawyers since 2008
  • Atherton v. County of Whiteside, 2017 CH 86 ST (Circuit Court, Whiteside County)
  • Whipple v. North Utica, 2014 MR 62 (LaSalle County)
  • Hass, et al. v. County of DeKalb, et al., 16th Judicial Circuit, DeKalb County, Illinois 2009-CH-285 dismissed 2011. Successfully represented County and developer in wind farm case.
  • Gassman, et al. v. Village of North Utica, et al., 13th Judicial Circuit, LaSalle County, Illinois 2012 CH 173 dismissed 2013. Successfully represented Village and developer of a 560 acre sand mining development.
  • Illinois One News v. City of Marshall, 477 F.3d 461 (7th Cir.2007)
  • Nelson v. County of DeKalb, 363 Ill.App.3d 206, 840 N.E.2d 746, 298 Ill.Dec. 682 (2nd Dist. 2005)
  • Ocean Atl. Dev. Corp. v. Aurora Christian Schools, 322 F3d 983 (7th Cir. 2003)
  • Jacobson v. Board of Edu. Of City of Chicago, 321 Ill.App.3d 103, 746 N.E.2d 894, 254 Ill.Dec. 137, 153 Ed. Law Rep. 726 (1 Dist. 2001)
  • Fumarolo v. Chicago Bd. of Educ., 142 Ill.2d 54,153 Ill.Dec. 177,65 Ed.L.Rptr. 1181 1990)
  • LaSalle Nat. Bank v. Village of Bloomingdale, 154 Ill.App.3d 918, 107 Ill.Dec. 604 (2nd Dist. 1987)
  • LaGrange State Bank v. Village of Glen Ellyn, 227 Ill.App.3d 308, 169 Ill.Dec. 307 (2nd Dist. 1992)
  • Kyle v. Morton High School, 144 F.3d 448, 73 Empl.Prac.Dec., p.45,374, 126 Ed.L.Rptr. 651 (7th Cir. 1998)
  • Cathedral of Joy Baptist Church v. Village of Hazel Crest, 22 F.3d 713 (7th Cir. 1994)
  • "Zoning Handbook for Municipal Officials", (author), Illinois Municipal League (2019)
  • "Governmental Sources of Financing and Other Incentives, Commercial Real Estate", Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) (2017)
  • "Land Use Law", (author), Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2017)
  • "The Zoning and Land Use Handbook", (author), American Bar Association (2016)
  • "Litigation and the Freedom of Information Act, What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings", (Reference Manual, 2013)
  • "Zoning Handbook for Municipal Officials", Illinois Municipal League (2012)
  • "Annexations and Annexation Agreements", Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (1995)
  • “Fundamentals in Land Use Litigation – Land Use Law in Illinois,” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Chicago, Illinois (2019)
  • “Land Use Update,” IML 105th Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois (2018)
  • “Nuisance & Aesthetic Considerations” and “Affordable Housing & Inclusionary Zoning,” ABA Center for Professional Development, Detroit, Michigan (2018)
  • “Update Land Use and Zoning Cases,” IML 103rd Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois (2016)
  • “Wind Energy and the Law of Nuisance,” AWEA Wind Power Conference and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana (2016)
  • “Fundamentals of Land Use and Zoning Law,” Live Webinar Lorman Education Services (2016)
  • “Land Use Law,” Legal Issues for Illinois Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors Seminar, Wheaton, Illinois (2015)
  • “Zoning Training Program for LaSalle County Board, Zoning Board and Municipal Officials” on due process in zoning cases. Oglesby, Illinois (2015)
  • “The New Frontier: Impact of Fracking on the Real Estate Market and the Broader Economy," Attorneys & Executives in Corporate Real Estate (AECRE) Fall Forum, (2013)
  • “What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings," Lorman Education Services (2013)
  • “Current Issues in Land Use & Judicial Review,” Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2012)
  • “Land Use and Zoning Update,” The Illinois Municipal League 99th Annual Conference (2012)
  • "What to do When the Wind Energy Comes Knocking,"" The Illinois Municipal League 98th Annual Conference, (2011)
  • “The Conduct of a Zoning Hearing,” DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference (2011)
  • "Tax Increment Financing and Special Service Areas,"" Illinois Government Finance Officers Association, Annual Conference (2010)
  • “Training for Planning Commissions & Zoning Board,” Illinois Municipal League 96th Annual Conference (2009)
  • "Municipal Wind Farms: Zoning and Wind Energy,"" Illinois Municipal League 95th Annual Conference (2008)
  • “Litigating the Land Use Case,” CLE International, 2nd Annual Conference Land Use Law, Chicago, Illinois (2008)
  • University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Business Law