The council unanimously passed a historic preservation ordinance on Monday after months of preparation by the village’s historic preservation committee, which was formed to work on the ordinance in 2005.
The ordinance establishes a commission to which residents can appeal to have their homes designated as historic landmarks. The commission will also be able to designate entire areas of the village as historic districts.
Under the ordinance, homes cannot be designated as landmarks unless the homeowner applies for the designation. Historic districts can only be formed with the consent of over 50 percent of homeowners living in the proposed district.
Once a home is designated as a landmark, homeowners can apply for state and federal grants to fund restoration projects for historically or architecturally significant homes.
Those living in historic districts will not be forced to make any changes to their homes, but will have to apply to a five-person historic preservation commission before making any exterior renovations to their home.
The authority to make final decisions regarding historic designations and renovations in historic districts would reside with the village council.
The council was originally scheduled to vote on the ordinance in December, but committee members asked for another month to make some minor changes, including reducing the number of members to serve on the commission from 7 to 5 and removing language dealing with teardowns, which will be presented to the council at a later time as a separate ordinance.
Forest Park includes 1,037 properties built prior to the 1920s and 311 built prior to 1900. The village’s oldest home was built in 1867, according to a presentation given in November by historic preservation committee member Kim Zandstra.