The zoning board of appeals voted unanimously Monday night to require that the village post signs on any property that will be the subject of a public hearing, a move that proponents said will keep the public informed.
Commissioner of Public Health and Safety Mike Curry proposed the idea and after two months of consideration, village staff, despite initial misgivings, proposed a system where the village will buy a limited number of signs that can be reused. The signs will be posted on property subject to a public hearing to alert neighbors to the proceedings. The sign will not state the date of the hearing, but will direct people to the village’s website or to a village phone number for more information.
“I’m very appreciative that staff has decided to follow the recommendation of the zoning board of appeals, as well as myself, and implement, hopefully implement, a new sign notification,” Curry said after the meeting. “The main purpose of the sign ordinance is to notify citizens of what’s going on in their community.”
The signs will go up 10 to 30 days before a hearing and will remain for as long as 10 days after the village council takes final action on the matter.
The signs will vary in size depending on the size of the property, but Mike Boyle, the director of Public Health and Safety for Forest Park, said most of the signs will be no larger than a typical “for sale” sign.
For now, the signs will be erected by the village at no additional cost to the property owner, but Boyle said the village will explore the idea of passing on the costs of large signs.
Boyle said the signs will cost the village approximately $100 each. He plans to purchase 10 of them. Because the signs will not have the date of the hearing on them they can be reused.
Boyle, who developed the plan with input from Curry, ZBA member Richard Scafidi and others, was happy with the outcome despite having initially opposed the idea.
“I think we got to a good place where it’s a win win,” Boyle said. “A win-win solution is always good.”
The village will still be required to notice public hearings in the newspaper and mail notices to property owners who live within 250 feet of the subject property.
In other action the ZBA approved a conditional use permit for a combined Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins ice cream shop to occupy the former White Hen Pantry store at 7660 Madison St. At the next ZBA meeting a decision on allowable signage is expected.
Decisions by the zoning board are advisory and subject to final approval by the village council.