ZBA denies request for fence by ‘castle’
by BRIAN NADIG
The Zoning Board of Appeals at its Jan. 18 meeting denied a request for a fence for the property commonly known as the "castle" along the Kennedy Expressway, and postponed a hearing on the athletic field being built at Taft High School.
The board voted to allow a 4-foot north side setback for the construction of an open stairway for a garage roof deck, but denied a request for additional yard setbacks for the construction of a 7 to 9-foot high fence with stone piers at 3721 N. Parkview Terrace.
The public hearing on the setback requests was held in November, but a vote on the project was not completed until the Jan. 18 meeting. The Greater Independence Park Neighborhood Association opposed the fence, expressing concern that its height would be out of character with the neighborhood and would create a blind corner for motorists.
The applicant has said that the fence would be "see-through" except for the 12 decorative piers and that there are seven solid fences in the neighborhood that are taller than the one she is requesting. The iron portion of the fence would be 5-feet-tall with a concrete base, while the piers would be slightly taller than 6 feet, with a 1-foot-tall decorative ball on top, according to the applicant.
The board’s decision could be appealed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Alderman John Arena (45th) has expressed concern about the fence. In addition, the city agreed to issue a driveway permit for the home over Arena’s objection in 2017. A lawsuit had been filed seeking the permit after Arena refused to sign off on the permit.
The three-story house has been the center of controversy for more than 10 years, and at one time a rap producer reportedly owned the property.
Also at the meeting, the board delayed a hearing on several yard variation requests to allow a multi-purpose turf field and bleachers with a press box at Taft High School, 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. The hearing was rescheduled to the board’s 2 p.m. session at its meeting Friday, Feb. 15, in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.
Construction of the athletic field began last year, but the turf and bleachers have not been installed.
Some of the residents living near the school had asked for a delay in the hearing so that they could conduct their own impact study, said Alderman Anthony Napolitano’s (41st) chief-of-staff Chris Vittorio. A curtain or other barrier reportedly is being considered for the top of the bleachers so that spectators would not be able to see into the nearby homes.
Also, the board approved special use requests to allow a beauty salon, which would include microblading, at 6318 N. Cicero Ave. Microblading is a semi-permanent eyebrow treatment, a process that cancer patients sometimes seek.