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Ald. Cappleman Delays Zoning Review For Endangered Victorian Home

By Adeshina Emmanuel | November 14, 2013 11:29am
  The five-bedroom house still contains a hand-carved wood staircase, stained-glass windows and two fire places on the interior   —   but is largely gutted and in need of restoration.
The Victorian at 4642 N. Magnolia Ave.
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UPTOWN — A City Council committee was scheduled Thursday to review a zoning request from business owners who hope to replace a 117-year-old Victorian house with an apartment building — but the review was pushed back to December at the request of Ald. James Cappleman (46th).

The five-bedroom house at 4642 N. Magnolia Ave., which many Uptown residents want designated a landmark, sustained damages in a fire nearly 20 years ago and sits gutted and in need of restoration. 

Mike and Liz Finan, Uptown residents and owners of O'Shaughnessy's Public House in Ravenswood, said in October that they had an agreement to buy the house.

The Finans said the deal is contingent on the city granting the Finans a demolition permit — and that they were also seeking a zoning change to build a six-flat apartment building in place of the house, which they see as a wiser investment.

The Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards was scheduled to review the zoning change Thursday and decide whether or not to forward it to City Council for a final vote.

Cappleman aide Abby Sullivan, however, said in an email Wednesday that the 46th Ward office asked that the review be postponed until December and that the request was granted.

The city is reviewing the Finans' permit request, which was filed on Oct. 7 and triggered a 90-day demolition delay because the city has determined the house has "potentially significant" architectural features or historic associations.

Sullivan said the city hasn't made a decision yet about granting the house landmark status, which would prohibit the Finans from destroying it, and "the zoning change will be considered after the landmarks and demolition issues are resolved."

While it's the City Council who officially grants or denies a zoning request, the backing of an alderman can go a long way toward making sure a request gets to the council and wins a vote. Similarly, an alderman's opposition can go a long way toward thwarting a developer's intentions.

Cappleman "won't decide if he will support the zoning change until he hears the feedback from the community," Sullivan said, adding that the zoning request would be discussed soon at a community meeting.