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updated: 8/14/2017 5:06 PM

Barrington woman sues village over neighbors' house

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  • Karen McCarthy, who owns home at right, alleges in a federal lawsuit the village of Barrington allowed her next-door neighbors at left to build a house that violates local law.

      Karen McCarthy, who owns home at right, alleges in a federal lawsuit the village of Barrington allowed her next-door neighbors at left to build a house that violates local law.
    Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Barrington woman has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the village government allowed her neighbors to build a house that violates local law.

Karen McCarthy contends in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the house constructed next to her South Summit Street house is too big for the lot it's on. Signs warning against trespassing on McCarthy's private property face the neighbors in question, Kara and Adam O'Dempsey.

McCarthy seeks an injunction requiring the O'Dempseys' house, built last year, to conform to Barrington's zoning law, as well as compensatory damages. The village is the lead defendant in her suit, which includes the O'Dempseys.

She expressed concern about the couple's house about four months before it was finished when she spoke during public comment time at a Barrington village board meeting in April 2016. McCarthy voiced disappointment that she demolished an old house and built a new structure on the property where she's lived since 1991.

"I wish I had never built my house," she told the village board. "I wish I would have packed my bags and left Barrington long ago."

Barrington spokeswoman Patty Dowd Schmitz said village officials cannot comment on McCarthy's accusations, citing the pending litigation. The O'Dempseys and McCarthy could not be reached Monday.

McCarthy contends Barrington's issuance of construction permits for the O'Dempseys' house violated her due process rights under the 14th Amendment, according to the lawsuit filed on her behalf by attorney Bradley Loberg on July 31. Loberg didn't return messages for comment.

It also is alleged in McCarthy's suit the neighboring house is an "unlawful structure" in violation of Barrington's zoning enabling act. The complaint says the house should not have been built without a variation from village zoning regulations because it exceeds a permitted maximum 6,236 in "floor area square footage."

According to the lawsuit, the O'Dempseys bought a house on South Summit Street in January 2015 and had it torn down to make way for the new house that was completed in late August 2016.

"Throughout this construction period, Ms. McCarthy repeatedly raised questions to the village about the size of the structure, which seemed too large for the lot," the suit states.

McCarthy, an architect, was a member of Barrington's Village Center Redevelopment Commission until it was disbanded after five years in 2002.

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