CHICAGO – The Cubs have asked the city's permission to put a 650-square-foot sign at Wrigley Field that may partially block views of the field from the surrounding rooftop businesses.
The rooftop owners have said they will file a lawsuit if the team puts up anything that cuts into their views. However, at least one city official is calling the application a positive development, even if it forces the courts to get involved in the dispute over renovation of the century-old ball park.
"It gets this show on the road," Alderman Pat O'Connor told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Now we have a finite time in which we'll get an answer and get a project going."
The Cubs filed a permit application after talks with the rooftop owners fell apart last week. The club owners also filed a defamation lawsuit against a stadium financing consultant who once advised the Cubs' prior owner, the Tribune Co.
The team is planning a $500 million renovation plans for the ballpark, which is expected to take five years. The Cubs want to expand the cramped clubhouse, improve training facilities and build a 175-room hotel nearby.
Ryan McLaughlin of the Wrigleyville Rooftops Association said the rooftop owners assembled a legal team "some time ago" in preparation for a court battle.
"Rooftop owners believe any blockage of our views violates the contract we have with the owners of the Cubs," McLaughlin said. "We will proceed accordingly."
Cubs spokesman Julian Green says since issues with the rooftop owners couldn't be resolved, the team is going forward with its right to put up the sign.
"We were hopeful we could come to some resolution," Green said. "But given last week's action, it appears that our proposal was rejected. They've decided to go forward with this legal action. We're going forward with our right to put up the sign."
• Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index