By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — The topic of zoning might put many people to sleep, but not this next man you’re about to meet.

Alan Krygowski found problems with a village map that might be a wakeup call for some property owners; like a stretch of homes marked down as businesses.

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CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory dives into his dispute in south suburban Midlothian.

Krygowski showed us a rental property that’s been in his family for 35 years; two separate apartments labeled as a two-flat on the original 1986 survey, and inspected as two  units in 2014 by the village of Midlothian.

“The county calls it a two-unit. I’m taxed as a two-unit. My insurance company calls it a two-unit,” he said.

But the 2020 Midlothian zoning map does not. Instead, his two-apartment home is marked as a single-family residence. The longtime realtor said that will affect eventual resale of the property.

“My estimation is the difference in value is probably $40,000. Plus you’ve also got the tenants who have been long-time tenants of mine who would end up being displaced,” Krygowski said.

The problem goes beyond his property. The village’s zoning map also shows four homes near 146th and Knox as businesses. There’s nothing commercial-looking about them, so how did these zoning mistakes happen?

Victory took her questions to Midlothian Village Hall, where the building superintendent said they were not errors, but a conscious decision by the village board to zone that way. He said homeowners have a chance to appeal at village meetings, or can get something called a legal non-conforming letter.

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“That says that the property is legal, it just doesn’t conform to the new zoning, which is helpful,” Krygowski said.

But that letter also says if the building were damaged more than 50%, permits would only be approved for how the property is currently zoned; meaning Krygowski’s apartments – and his neighbors’ apartments – would need to be re-constructed as houses only.

The homes near 146th and Knox would have to be re-built as businesses.

The village confirmed that.

“I don’t know why this is such a hurdle to get it corrected,” Krygowski said.

He is considering legal action.

The Midlothian building superintendent said changing one property’s zoning isn’t allowed. He called it “spot-zoning.”

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The only way to get around that is to have a hearing about zoning the entire block, but that didn’t sound likely to happen.

Lauren Victory