Higher fences OK to block view of new facility

800 block of Bonnie Brae neighbors can go up to 12 feet

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By Robert J. Lifka

Contributing Reporter

Residents in the 800 block of Bonnie Brae Place whose properties abut the senior care facility under construction at the intersection of Chicago and Harlem avenues will be able to block their views with fences as high as 12 feet tall following action by the River Forest Village Board at the Jan. 11 virtual meeting.

The five trustees present voted to unanimously grant a fence-height variance for properties at 803, 811, 821, 825 and 831 Bonnie Brae. Trustee Tom Cargie was not in attendance.

Although the developer of the Sheridan at River Forest building agreed to erect an 8-foot fence along the west property line of the senior care facility, residents asked village officials for additional relief. The developer was not willing to increase the height of the fence but did not object to residents erecting their own fences that would be higher.

At the Nov. 30 village board meeting, officials discussed several options to provide relief to the residents without requiring holding a public hearing and the involvement of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The maximum fence height in the village code is 6 feet for that type of fence.

The Jan. 11 action allows those residents until Dec. 31, 2023, to erect a fence as high as 12 feet tall.

Trustee Bob O'Connell expressed concerns about appearances if not all residents erected a fence the same height but voted in favor of the variance.

The proposal for the four-story, 125-unit development was controversial with residents, especially those living close by, objecting mainly to its size. The village board eventually approved the project in October 2018. The project broke ground in September 2019 and completion is expected in early 2021.

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