Permit to be issued for “castle” along the Kennedy despite Arena’s objection; owner filed lawsuit
Full Copy of Lawsuit can be view HERE
by BRIAN NADIG
After several years of delay, a driveway permit for the three-story mansion that is known by many as the “castle” along the Kennedy Expressway is being issued.
A lawsuit filed late last year claims that Alderman John Arena (45th) would not sign off on the permit. However, the city recently decided to have the permit issued without Arena’s consent.
“The issue will be resolved, and the permit will be issued,” city Department of Law spokesman Bill McCaffrey said on April 14.
The house at 3721 N. Parkview Terrace was once owned by rap producer Rudy Acosta, who was arrested last year on drug-related charges. Acosta reportedly was being investigated for alleged connections to Mexican drug cartels and Chicago street gangs.
Following construction delays and the issuance of numerous building code citations, the property ended up in foreclosure, and a real estate attorney reportedly acquired the house in 2013 but did not plan to live there. The lawsuit states that “a married mother of three young children” intends to make the residence her family’s primary home.
Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh said that there were concerns that the slope of the planned driveway might cut into tree roots on a neighboring property. “We were close to a resolution,” but there has been no communication with the owner since last fall, he said.
The lawsuit states that Arena placed a “hold” on the permit application in July of 2014 and that he has refused to sign an aldermanic waiver and notification which is part of the permit application process.
If an alderman does not sign within 20 days, it is presumed that he or she has no objections.
However, in those instances in which an alderman raises an objection, the department can review the matter and work to resolve concerns before making a determination, according to the city Department of Transportation. The lawsuit states that the owner made numerous requests to Arena during a 27-month period to sign the waiver and that the permit application could not be properly processed without his signature.
While the transportation department has the authority to grant or deny residential driveway permits, an aldermanic waiver “is required in order to properly complete and submit” the application to the department for review, according to the lawsuit.
The site, which runs along Parkview and Lawndale Avenue, does not abut an improved alley, and the site’s zoning allows for new curb cuts when a property lacks access to an alley. The driveway, which would lead from the street to an attached two-car garage, would be approximately 16 feet wide, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Chicago Title Insurance Company, which serves as a trustee for the land, and it names Arena and the City of Chicago as defendants. The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 29 in Cook County Circuit Court, but the city has not been served with the lawsuit, McCaffrey said.
The lawsuit states that the permit is being denied ‘without just or due cause” and asks the court to direct Arena to sign in support of the permit application. The lawsuit also asks that the city pay the plaintiff’s legal fees.
Until a few years ago the property was located in the 39th Ward.
A court hearing is set for Thursday, May 4. The plaintiff’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Photo by Sean Keenehan