Forest Parkers will find a note from the Historical Society of Forest Park with their vehicle sticker renewal letters this year. 

The society has once again received permission to include a fundraising appeal flyer in with Forest Park’s yearly vehicle sticker notice. The last vehicle sticker mailing was sent in 2012 to 10,000 vehicle owners in Forest Park and generated $3,400 for the historical society.

The flyer will ask village residents to donate toward a fundraising goal of $5,000.

Historical Society President Bob Cox said the society has three upcoming financial projects: The first is an annual campaign, which will include the official makeover and re-launch of the society’s website. 

The second goal is a fund to help pay for special encore performances of the Des Plaines River Anthology, the play the organization staged in October. The third financial goal is the maintenance of the group’s new offices at a village-owned building and a display space/storage location at First United Church, 1000 Elgin Ave. 

With display space, the society is eligible for state and national grants, said Diane Hansen Grah, executive director. The ultimate goal is to acquire a permanent home for the organization. 

The flyer will read, “Please make your $2 donation to the Historical Society by filling in the amount where indicated near the bottom of your Vehicle Sticker renewal form.” 

Previously, the Park District of Forest Park included a donation request with vehicle sticker letters to fund the Fourth of July fireworks. The request generated $4-6,000 for the park district in the past, said Sally Cody in 2012. Now that the fireworks are no longer being held in Forest Park, the village agreed the historical society could use the fundraising opportunity.

Vehicle sticker renewal letters traditionally go out in early February. Forest Parkers have until April 1 to purchase their 2014 sticker. 

The Forest Park Village Council voted to allow the request Monday. 

Restrictions on e-cigarettes

The possible restriction of vapor electronic cigarettes, and the possibility that they could be “used to smoke something else” was brought up by Commissioner Mark Hosty at the village council meeting. During the council’s discussion of a housekeeping ordinance to consolidate rules for underage cigarette sales, business licensing and taxing rules, Hosty said he had read an article about the city of Chicago outlawing e-cigarettes in public locations because of smokers using them to ingest THC. 

Hosty said vapor cigarettes were used to ingest “hash” in public places, according to the article. He plans to propose adding e-cigarettes to any clean-air ordinance passed by the village. 

“I know they are important to people who are trying to quit smoking,” Hosty admitted.

Mayor Anthony Calderone and attorney Nick Peppers said the current ordinance was just a way to make sure businesses who sold tobacco products were held accountable for paying tax revenue to the village. 

“This ordinance ties youth tobacco [laws] to the owner’s business license,” Peppers said. “If there’s a failure to pay taxes, this broadens our plenary power to go after someone’s license if they’re not following the regulations.” 

Two-car garages on 25-foot lots

The Forest Park Village Council broke with a recommendation of the Zoning Board of Appeals and granted relief to the owner of 7729 Adams St., who was asking for permission to erect a two-car garage on his property. According to the ZBA, the proposed garage would bring to 52 percent the amount of the parcel covered by buildings. The allowed percentage is 40 percent. The owner, Oscar Corona, is a developer who bought the house to remodel and resell. 

The ZBA report said allowing the double-wide garage exceeded “the established threshold of 40% [and] creates a threatening precedent.”

The ZBA report said allowing the garage “opens the door for similar petitions on undersized non-conforming lots. This impacts density and decreases open land, which exacerbates surface flooding,” the report said. 

But the council did not agree. 

A coach house on the property had been torn down, said Mayor Anthony Calderone. The mayor said the ZBA may have taken “too strict of an interpretation” in this case.

“If I’m living next door and looking out my window,” he said, “I’d prefer to see a garage than a car or two parked almost in your backyard.” 

Commissioner Mark Hosty said he himself had to ask for zoning relief in the past with a narrow lot when he wanted to build a garage. 

“With 25-foot lots, it is difficult to build a two-car garage. I think we have a lot of these sized lots in town and we need to have zoning take a look at them and do a comprehensive review,” Hosty said. 

Firefighters pension board meeting rescheduled

The January 15, 2014 meeting of the Forest Park Firefighters Pension Fund Board has been rescheduled. The meeting will be held on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 10 a.m. in the lower level of Village Hall, 517 Desplaines Ave.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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