Para Builders, a firm that hired an Oak Lawn Village appointee, Joseph Cwiklinski, as its real estate agent, is once again scheduled to come before the Village Planning and Development Commission tonight for a variation that was previously denied for property located at the corner of 96th Street and Central Avenue.
Cwiklinski, who was appointed by Mayor Sandra Bury to the Architectural Design and Review Committee, has previously represented Para before the board and would be in violation of the village’s own ethics ordinance if he attempted to do so again.
Para, who purchased the property in 2014, first approached the village with Cwiklinski requesting a variation of the setback to allow the construction of a home closer to Central Avenue. Residents in the area objected to the idea citing problems with being able to see around the house for oncoming traffic on Central when exiting 96th Street.
The Village’s own ordinances only allowed buildings to be built 20 feet or further from the lot line. Para requested that he be able to build as close as 15 feet to the lot line. The suggestion was debated by board members, including former Commissioner John Eggert, who noted that allowing a structure that is five feet closer to the road may obstruct sight lines.
The board and staff members also spoke about the fact that a fence would not be allowed on the side lot, running along Central Avenue. The Village Engineer, Jack Gallagher, spoke at the meeting regarding fences. Gallagher said, “the west side of the lot behaves as the front yard and in Oak Lawn you are not allowed to add fences in the front yard”. Eggert also stated that the house was only forty feet from 96th Street and there “would not be an opportunity to put a fence in that area”.
In 2014, the Planning and Development Board unanimously denied the petition for the side yard setback. Para Builders did not appeal and was only able to build his home in accordance with the ordinance.
Now, two years later, with the home fully constructed, Para has petitioned the board again. Despite the board’s previous discussions and concerns about the safety issues, Para is requesting a variation from the board once again asking that he be allowed to build a fence along Central Avenue. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Village’s Municipal Center. Concerned residents are allowed to speak under public comment.
Cwiklinski remains as the real estate agent for Para Builders while also serving in his appointed Village positions.