CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - A lawsuit filed by Carbondale attorney Darrell Dunham on behalf of the Robinson's is seeking more than $100,000-dollars in damages against Carbondale's city leaders, the owner of the building and the business owner.
The lawsuit centers around the Oakland Auto Repair business located on the corner of North Oakland Street and Sycamore Street.
Shortly after buying the building Lindsey Fisher sent a letter on August 1, 2011, to Carbondale's Director of Development Services at the time, Kevin Baity,seeking a non-compliance certificate on the property.
Baity granted Fisher the non-compliance certificate on August 22, 2011, for a Commercial Warehouse-Automotive Repair Service & Office for Automotive Repair Service.
Even though the piece of property is currently zoned as an R-1-5, Low Density Residential. And it was also zoned that way at the time of the non-compliance certificate being granted to Fisher.
The owner of the business Than Van Tran signed a 5 year lease with Lindsey Fisher dbaHome Rentals, and opened his doors a few days later.
Now some people in the neighborhood want to know why they weren't involved in the decision making process.
"We're in favor of a mixed zoning in the neighborhood," said Mark Robinson. "You just have to be very cautious with the business you put in. And it needs the approval of the neighborhood before you do anything."
In the Robinson's lawsuit against the City of Carbondale, their attorney Darrell Dunham alleges that the city is refusing to enforce its own zoning ordinances.
"I don't know what the politics are, and why this particular business is getting an exception," said Dunham. "But it sets a very poor precedence. If one person can violate zoning laws, then it seems to me that every citizen in the city should be free to do that."
The lawsuit also alleges that the Robinsons have been subjected to exposure of noxious fumes, excessive noise and that their health is at risk and that they have not been able to peaceably enjoy their property.
"This is a residential area. Why does a neighbor have to come and retain somebody like me just to get the city to enforce it's own zoning laws. Neighbors shouldn't have to have an attorney to get the city to do what it should be doing in any event," said Dunham.
The Carbondale City Attorney Mike Kimmel says the city is investigating the matter. And that the city does acknowledge that the piece of property in dispute is zoned as a residential property.