Hearing on proposed fence at ‘castle’ mansion by expressway delayed
by BRIAN NADIG
The Zoning Board of Appeals at its Oct. 19 meting delayed a hearing on a proposed fence for the three-story mansion that is known to many residents as the "castle" along the Kennedy Expressway.
Alderman John Arena (45th) said in a social media posting which was later removed from Facebook that he requested the delay on behalf of community residents who needed time to review the owner’s request for zoning variances for a 7-to-9-foot-tall perimeter fence with stone piers.
The zoning board is scheduled to hear the matter at its meeting Friday, Nov. 16. The home is located at 3721 N. Parkview Ter.
In his Facebook posting, Arena said that "the best neighbors build bridges within their community" and the project’s construction delays have caused blight in the neighborhood.
The mother of the family who lives there, countered on social media, charging that Arena is responsible for several of the delays. A construction fence has surrounded the property for 12 years, she said.
Last year the city Department of Law settled a lawsuit in which the property owner claimed that Arena refused to sign-off on a driveway permit. The department agreed to have the permit issued over the objections of the alderman.
Under city law, homeowners have the right to a curb cut when there is no adjacent alley from which a garage could be accessed. An Arena aide said last year that there had been concerns that a driveway could negatively affect a neighbor’s tree.
Last year, a permit expeditor was able to obtain a construction permit for a 6-foot-tall wrought iron fence for the property.
However, that fence was part of "old approved plans" which included taller piers, and the city "requested plans with all components be resubmitted," leading to the current application with the zoning board, the resident of the home said on Facebook.
In an interview, the resident said that the delay in the zoning board’s approval means that the exterior work will not be completed before winter and that an old construction fence will have to remain until permits are issued and the required work can be finished. She said that there are ditches and other safety hazards which must be secured by the construction fence.
Some residents have expressed concern that the fence and its solid piers could obstruct the vision of motorists traveling through the adjacent Parkview-Lawndale intersection.
The resident said that the fence is needed as a safety measure in part due to the site’s location next to an expressway that attracts drug deals and other illegal activity near the house.
Much of the opposition to the fence stems from the community’s "hatred" of a home which some residents wish was never built, Panzica said.
Rap producer Rudy Acosta, who was arrested in 2016 on drug-related charges, once owned the house. Following construction delays, the property ended up in foreclosure, and a real estate attorney reportedly acquired the house in 2013 but did not plan to live there.