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Planning Commission Approves Fear City Proposal

Creators of the haunted house intend to open this October.

Morton Grove may become much scarier for this upcoming Halloween season.

The village's Planning Commission approved Big City Entertainment's proposal for a haunted house called Fear City on Monday night.

Six members of the Planning Commission all voted in favor of a petition to grant the company a special use permit and a text amendment. One member of the commission was absent.

Big City Entertainment intends to put an entertainment facility on an industrial plot of land at 8220 Austin Ave. Community and Economic Development Director John Said introduced the petition, and suggested a text ammendment to the wording of 'entertainment.'

"This may be the most unusual request I've ever seen," he said. "Not because it's a haunted house; it's just different, and it is providing more variety to my professional activities."

Reaction from Residents

A handful of residents who live near the proposed haunted house raised their voices in opposition to the plan.

One couple, Allison and Randy Giuffre, are concerned about the 20,000 visitors projected to visit the attraction during its one-month Halloween use.

"I believe if this approved you'll be inviting into our neighborhood a lot of personal parking violations, underage drinking, drug use, littering, trespassing, gang presence, violence, and noise," said Allison Giuffre.

In the end, the commissioners voted in favor of Big City Entertainment's proposal, highlighting the economic incentive for more business in town.

Big City Entertainment has pledged to support local vendors for food service and advertise about its Morton Grove location in a wide variety of ways.

Tony Duffy, who presented Fear City's plans, said that the cost per ticket, at $20-$30, is "prohibited to negative elements."

Next Steps

The Planning Commission will send its approved recommendation on to the Board of Trustees, who will give the final vote on Fear City's plans to move into Morton Grove. The next board meeting is Monday, June 27.

David Lewis June 21, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Opening a high-end, professionally managed and secure entertainment venue for a thirty day period is going to invite "underage drinking, drug use, littering, trespassing, gang presence, violence and noise"? Really?
Jennifer Alvarado June 23, 2011 at 07:45 PM
I guess since none of the board members that approved it do not live in direct traffic pattern of the proposed site thought it was a no brainer, right?!? They could care less that added traffic and noise on school nights is fine by them til midnight during the week. Austin Ave and surrounding side streets are full of grade school and high school aged children that don't need 3 weeks of noise up until nearly midnight during the week, or even people that actually work for a living early in the morning. I am sure this is a well run attraction, but does it really need a permit to be open until 11PM on weeknights? This is a residential area and I suppose the residents' that were able to attend the meeting and voice their opinions weren't even taken into consideration. It's sad and selfish to grant an 11PM permit, when 10 PM is definately sufficient Sunday through Thursday.

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