Published January 13, 2015
A Big Bird (search) sculpture on the chimney of a duplex has ruffled a few feathers.
"It's obnoxious. It's unsightly, and I do truly feel it is hazardous at this point," neighbor Cynthia Leedale said, worried that someone may be rear-ended when they stop to look at the bird. "I feel like I'm living in a theme park."
But it is called art by Al Emmons (search), who built the sculpture with his family last fall after repairing the chimney at the duplex where he and his wife rent out two flats. He contends freedom of expression is at stake and it helps to cover pipes sticking out of the chimney.
The village's Plan Commission agreed Wednesday with Leedale and other neighbors who petitioned to have the bird removed. Commissioners praised Emmons' creativity, but cited concerns about maintaining historical integrity and following established guidelines.
They rejected a belated permit application on a 7-0 vote and the matter now goes to the full Village Board Tuesday.
Emmons applied for the permit after construction because he said he was not aware he needed one previously.
"I don't think anyone argues he's not a great artist," village president Scott Leonard (search), who is also the commission chairman, said of Emmons. "In this case, one man's bluebird of happiness is another man's 'Nightmare on Elm Street.' ... I wouldn't want to live next to it."