CHICAGO – An appellate court has reversed a judgment that barred two businesses from operating in Palos Park, saying a neighbor can't apply rules to the businesses that weren't in place at the time they agreed to annex their land into the southwest suburban village.
A three-justice panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court issued a 20-page ruling Oct. 29, reversing the Cook County Circuit Court's decision in the lawsuit filed by Elias Giannakopoulos against Gene Adams, Art Adams & Sons and Thomas Adams, doing business as ACT Construction and Trucking.
Justice Daniel Pierce authored the decision. Justices Mary L. Mikva and Sheldon Harris concurred.
In the ruling, Pierce pointed that Giannakopoulos failed to prove the defendants violated the zoning laws when running their businesses, stating that "plaintiff has not established that, at the time of annexation, defendants’ use of the Adams property was illegal under the village ordinances, which is necessary in this case."
Giannakopoulos filed the suit alleging the defendant's businesses went against building zoning codes as the properties are located in a residential area.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge decided in favor of Giannakopoulos, granting summary judgment and permanently barring the defendants from engaging in business-related activities at the property, as well as ordering them to pay attorney fees.
According to court documents, the defendants' family first bought the property 60 years ago and originally used it for farming. In 1952, the family stopped the farming activities and subdivided the farm for residential use, but continued to run an excavation business on the remaining property. The decision states the defendants' excavation business began in 1954.
Giannakopoulos bought his property in 1996 and purchased a second lot eight years later to build a new home.
In 2010, per the ruling, Giannakopoulos "bought a third lot that directly abuts defendants’ property," with him using the defendants' company "to excavate and back-fill the foundation for the new house over an eight month period during 2004 and 2005."
The suit was filed on May 12, 2011, claiming the defendants violated code because their "property was within 1,200 feet of the Giannakopoulos property and defendants were conducting business on their property in violation of the village of Palos Park’s zoning law."
First District Appellate Court case number 1-16-2364