TO: Oak Park Area Association of Realtors, Lenders, Home Appraisers, Real Estate Attorneys, Property Insurers, Secondary Market Investors

CC: Forest Park multi-property owners (2,000+), Coach House owners (80 ) and future Buyers of said properties.

RE: The Village of Forest Park’s New Comprehensive Plan

Please be advised that Forest Park’s new Draft 2014 Comprehensive Plan ( has been released and is scheduled to be approved by the village council on Monday, Dec. 15.

The core of the document focuses on Residential Land Use. 

They suggest over 2,500 residential properties in the village be down-zoned, with a special emphasis on 2 and 3-flats and coach houses. 

Red Alert! Read the plan to prove due diligence and disclosure for yourselves, your clients and your investors.

In general terms, single family homes (SFH), townhomes (TH) and condos appear to be “safe” properties to own/purchase, but all other properties are on the chopping block in order “to preserve the character of established neighborhoods.”

The New CP offers fantastical goals, an impossibly arbitrary process, no answers, and an endless amount of questions from owners and real estate professionals in our new village of Squish.

Here are some of them, and sentiments, lightly edited to keep the language family friendly:

1. What The Hell! I bought my coach house 17 years ago, and paid for it, and now they’re telling me it’s worth nothing?

2. How will the village know which two-flats were purpose built? I bought this two-flat from my grandfather and it was a two-flat when he bought it!

3. It says they’re going to change the zoning to match the New CP, and THEN do a property review?!? 

4. What’s a “property review?” If they send out those college interns again, I’m grabbing my shotgun.

5. We’re moving very soon and have market analyses from three realtors. Does this change the price?

6. If this is like the crap they pulled 10 years ago, it’s all arbitrary and political. 

7. Who decides which are the “good” coach houses? What does “preserved” mean? 

8. My mother owns a two-flat. Are you saying that if it has a fire, she has to re-build as a SFH? Well, then she’ll have to move because she can’t afford a SFH, which is why she chose to buy a two-flat.

See it all here: Residential goals and objectives start on p. 76, Recommendations on p. 81, Action Items on p. 137, and the accompanying zoning map is on p. 135.

Since 2001, the village’s mantra has been is “Forest Park is a single family town.” I know, who ya’ gonna believe – them or your lying eyes and Census data. The only housing that’s changed much in 50 years is new 6-12 flats, condo buildings and townhomes. 

Presently, Forest Park has 7,725 total housing units of which 1,686 are SFH, 1,059 are 2-flats, 709 are 3-4flats and 1,018 are 5-9 flats. Almost 3k are 10 and, presumably, mostly condo buildings.

Forest Park only discovered zoning in 1958 when they said “no more coach houses!” – after homes were moved from the Ike trench and dropped willy-nilly across the village to become “coach houses.” It took the village another 40 years (1998) to say “no more SFH conversions and crappy 6-12 flats!” – way after the SFH conversions of The Great Depression and WWII.

In 2001, the village’s first comprehensive plan was rushed to the printer before the committee agreed to its main Land Use dictum, “We are a single family town.”

The new comprehensive plan doubles down on “non-purpose built” multi’s and coach houses, and did I mention the village’s building department has almost no records of any of the alleged perps? It is unclear where the CP stands on larger multi’s but most have been down-zoned per the new map. 

This is just tip of the iceberg: the bottom line is that long-serving electeds want current multi-owners to pick up the tab for their impossibly expensive, cruel, and elective village rehab. The (arguably) sins of our housing are, in fact, sins of (mostly forever) village negligence, not present owners. Forest Park must be in dire straights to necessitate such a radical intervention, so it’s probably best that buyers choose a more stable town.

Curiously, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that official hatred of multi’s surfaced. We wonder what triggered the about-face and generated the venom directed toward, um, well… renters. So strange, as some of our best friends are renters. Thanks HUD! for funding the comprehensive plan and keeping irony alive.

As always, feel free to contact me at

91 replies on “New zoning in the Village of Squish may change value of your property”