ZBA to hear case for ‘castle’ fencing
by BRIAN NADIG
A fence for the house known as the "castle" along the Kennedy Expressway and a proposed four-flat near Cicero and Pensacola avenues were on the Nov. 16 agenda of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Last month the zoning board continued the hearing on a request for a yard variation to allow the installation of a 7-to-9-foot-tall wrought iron fence with stone piers at 3721 N. Parkview Ter.
Alderman John Arena (45th) requested the delay so that residents could have more time to review the plans. The continued hearing is scheduled for the board’s afternoon session which starts at 2 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 121 N. La Salle Street.
The resident seeking the variation said that the iron portion of the fence would be 5-feet-tall with a concrete base along with 12 decorative piers which would be slightly taller than 6 feet with a 1-foot-tall decorative ball. Eight of the piers would be located at entry points.
The resident said that concerns by some area homeowners that the fence would obstruct the vision of drivers are unfounded and that there are seven homes in the area with solid fences higher than the one she has requested. She added that her fence is "see-through" except for the piers.
In a statement, the Greater Independence Park Neighborhood Association claimed that the fence would "create significant safety issues by creating a blind corner. This is of particular concern to GIPNA neighbors because of the house’s proximity to Murphy School.
"Further, a 7-9-foot fence is not necessary. No other home in the neighborhood has a fence of the type or scale to what they are trying to build, and if built it would change the neighborhood’s character beyond what the house itself already has."
The association is seeking that the fence conforms to building code standards, with no variation to allow for additional height.
The house, which was built for a rap artist and then re-sold, has been at the center of controversy for years.
Last year the city issued a driveway permit for the project over the objections of Arena.
The resident of the house had filed a lawsuit seeking the issuance of the permit. She said that the Arena’s refusal to sign off on the permit caused several years of delays in finishing exterior work on the house.
Also on the agenda for the meeting’s 9 a.m. session, a developer is seeking a variation to reduce the required 4,000-square-foot minimum lot area at 4321 N. Cicero Ave. to 3,750-square feet to allow for an additional residential unit.
The site’s existing zoning permits only three units on the site, but the variation would allow for a fourth unit. A construction permit to build a three-story building with a basement on the lot was issued in August.