Bloomingdale home's tiny roller coaster puzzles many

  • A Bloomingdale resident built what appears to be a roller coaster in his front yard, prompting complaints by neighbors and questions from the village.

    A Bloomingdale resident built what appears to be a roller coaster in his front yard, prompting complaints by neighbors and questions from the village. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

  • When one person complained to the village of the roller coaster tracks, that led to construction of an orange snow fence by the homeowner, neighbors say.

    When one person complained to the village of the roller coaster tracks, that led to construction of an orange snow fence by the homeowner, neighbors say. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

  • These roller coaster-style tracks in the front yard of a Bloomingdale home are prompting some anger and head-scratching.

    These roller coaster-style tracks in the front yard of a Bloomingdale home are prompting some anger and head-scratching. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/3/2010 12:14 PM

Bloomingdale officials and neighbors are puzzling over the structure sitting in Eric Morrisroe's front yard.

What looks like a miniature roller coaster track was built on the property in September, and after a neighbor complained in October, village officials are now wondering if the structure is a decoration or a very large toy.

 

"This is an ongoing evaluation and we're waiting to hear back from the resident exactly what the setup is," said Bloomingdale Building Inspector Mike Gricus.

Morrisroe, son of former Bloomingdale Village President Violet Morrisroe, did not immediately respond to calls and has not yet responded to a village inquiry about the structure.

After receiving the complaints, inspectors visited his property last week and took photos.

Gricus said he has heard the coaster might be a seasonal holiday display, with possibly a fake Santa set to ride in a coaster car. If that is the case, he said, the coaster must come down when the weather warms up after winter like all other holiday decorations in Bloomingdale.

But if it is just something for fun, said Gricus, the coaster would be categorized like a jungle gym or treehouse. Something that is allowed year-round, but must be moved to the backyard.

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"It doesn't look substantial enough to hold people, and no one has ever seen anything operate on these rails, such as cars or trains," Gricus said. "We're not sure what it is, which is why we reach out."

But whatever the purpose, some neighbors, such as Susan Bantz, are unhappy with the coaster. A side of Bantz's home with many windows faces Morrisroe's, and she says the structure is unsightly.

"It's a little frustrating to have to look at this," she said.

Bantz is also upset with an orange snow fence Morrisroe erected recently, which village officials said is currently not mounted properly and in some disrepair.

Gricus said the snow fence is permitted, but must be installed correctly.

"There is no ordinance that prohibits someone putting up snow fencing to prevent snow from drifting into the driveway ... be we would expect to see it gone when there is no more snow. Again, we are giving the resident the benefit of the doubt."