The on again-off again plan to build a single-family home on a lot narrower than the required 40 feet at 135 Desplaines Ave. is back on again following Forest Park Village Council action during its July 10 meeting.
The council voted 4-0 Monday to approve a zoning variation allowing J P Props Inc. to build on a 31½-foot-wide lot.
At the June 12 meeting, commissioners voted to amend multiple sections of the zoning code, including the section declaring a moratorium on the building of single-family homes on lots narrower than 50 feet. In his memorandum to the village council, Steve Glinke, director of the Department of Public Health and Safety, said the rationale for the moratorium was "unclear," noting that it was opposed by the Zoning Board of Appeals and by homeowners who attended an August 2005 meeting on the matter.
"Staff believes the content of this text is too restrictive and believes its repeal will not result in over-built neighborhoods," Glinke said in the memorandum, noting that staff, the zoning board and the village council will still be able to evaluate each case on its own merits.
Approving the variance benefits a River Forest village trustee, Susan Conti, who represents J P Props.
According to Glinke, the previous owner of the property and the adjacent lot at 137 Desplaines, was granted a variance in 2007 to split what was then a 66-foot lot, demolish an existing single-family home on the 137 Desplaines side of the property and build two new homes. Financial difficulties related to the housing market crash prevented the project from occurring and the variance expired after 365 days of inactivity.
In 2015, JP Props purchased the property under the assumption the lots were separate, according to Glinke. Each lot having its own property index number and tax bill led to that belief, he added.
The property at 137 Desplaines was gut-rehabbed and sold.
This story has been changed to clarify an LLC owned by River Forest Trustee Patty Henek and her husband called JP Properties 2119 Harlem is unrelated to the LLC owned by another River Forest Trustee Susan Conti called J P Props Inc. J P Props Inc. is the owner of the property at 135 Desplaines Ave. The Review regrets the error.