Though his request was a matter of routine, the circumstances that brought Commissioner Mike Curry to an April 20 administrative hearing were not.
“It’s getting a little embarrassing,” said Gloria Backman, one of two residents who chastised Curry for failing to get the necessary permits for a home remodeling project. “Mike, I’m not trying to scold you, but in a way I am. I quite frankly don’t think there’s any excuse for it.”
At the end of the hearing, Curry, who oversees the Department of Public Health and Safety, received his recommendation from the director of the department that he be allowed to build a new roof and make other improvements to his home at 1510 Marengo. Special permission was needed because the house sits too near a property line and covers more of the parcel than zoning regulations allow.
However, Curry had largely completed the project several months ago, and without seeking the necessary approvals. His case marks the second time in four months that a council member was forced to comply with building regulations after initially skirting those rules.
“I know you’re familiar with getting permits and for what,” Leslie Fields, a resident of the 400 block of Marengo, said during the hearing. “It needs to quit. Either you’re going to have to treat every resident as forgetful, or you guys have got to step up.”
Mike Boyle, the director of Curry’s department, said he is recommending that the council allow the renovations to stand because the project was typical in scope.
Two members of Forest Park’s zoning board, Richard Scafidi and Ray Paulin, also attended the hearing, but did not speak. Afterward, Paulin told Curry that he deserves to hear the criticisms that were offered.
“I’m not here hiding,” Curry said. “I’m trying to take full responsibility. No one is more disappointed than I.”