A McMahon's home is his castle. At least it should be, says Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who moved his family to new digs in this posh Chicago suburb this fall.
But the punk-haired quarterback who shields his eyes with shades had to battle his neighbors to hide his family from gawkers. McMahon has won permission from the local zoning board to fence in parts of his two-acre wooded lot.The McMahons - Jim, wife Nancy, and three children - moved from their Northbrook townhouse into a new $2.2 million mansion in September. But the 12,000-square-foot home with the curved driveway and famous family soon began attracting curiosity-seekers. McMahon quickly applied his specialty - a potent offense.
He wanted to encircle the lot with a six-foot fence, but that violated zoning ordinances in the village of Northbrook, so he appealed.
"It would be in the interest of our own privacy and safety, together with the privacy and safety of our neighbors as well, to allow us to erect a fence around the perimeter of the property to prevent easy access by various members of the public," he wrote to the village.
He also appealed directly to the board, but neighbors objected. "We all recognize Mr. McMahon's high visibility causes him a problem, but it has also created a visibility problem for all of his neighbors," wrote A.C. Buehler Jr., president of the local neighborhood association.
"Our neighborhood has had no front or front side yard fences other than decorative low split rail fences. The requested fences would be totally out of character for our area," Buehler added.
McMahon then dropped the request for much of the fencing in the front yard.
The chairman of the zoning board of appeals said board members were sympathetic to the McMahons' plight, noting Mrs. McMahon was upset because the strangers prevented her children from playing in the driveway.
The board recognized the McMahon's "unique situation caused by their prominence and notoriety," said Vay Stonebreaker.
The board voted unanimously to grant a variance to allow a five-foot fence in the corner side yard and a five-foot gate on the driveway. A rear fence is permitted in a new zoning code passed last month.
The McMahons may not want a public parade, but they did allow a local television station to tour the home for a special to show off the house, which includes an indoor racquetball court, weight room, aerobics area, sauna, steam room and a tanning bed.