A new four-unit townhome development at 233 Des Plaines Ave. took another step forward Aug. 28, following approval by the Forest Park Village Council.

The council unanimously approved the site plan, final plat of subdivision and a zoning variation for Gordon/Jones LLC to the unusually-shaped, 13,528-square-foot property, which has been vacant for over 10 years and a “home for weeds for years and years,” according to Village Administrator Tim Gillian.

The plot’s shape is caused by the angled frontage of the lot on Desplaines Ave., an offset of 20 feet. The village had allowed the previous owner to build a seven-townhome development on the property but the project was stopped after it was started, according to Gillian. Foundations for the previous project will have to be removed, he added.

“The big goal was to get the site filled with less density,” Gillian said. “We wanted the frontage to match the neighborhood. “

The project will include a pair of two-unit townhomes, each with three floors, and parking for eight vehicles, two per unit. The developer said the target market would be so-called “empty nesters” or young professionals without children. 

Gillian said no opposition to the project was voiced during hearings of the Plan Commission or the Zoning Board of Appeals. Both bodies unanimously recommended the project be approved.

In his memo to the Plan Commission, Steve Glinke, director of public health and safety, said the village has spent “considerable time and effort” enforcing minimum property maintenance standards from the previous owner.

He referred to the reduction in density as an “attractive feature” in the development and noted the new project would provide more green space.

In other official action Aug. 28, the council also approved five change orders for the Roosevelt Road streetscape project, increasing the cost of the project by $180,000. 

The change order with the biggest impact—$141,000.00—calls for including electric and water on the medians. The other change orders include a changeable message board, temporary pavement marking tape, additional storm sewers for utility conflicts and additional electrical conduit pipe. 

 In response to questions from Commissioner Dan Novak, Gillian said village officials did not include electric and water in the medians in the recently completed Madison Street streetscape project and admitted they wish they had.

“We just didn’t think of it at the get-go,” he said.

Gillian said the addition of electric would allow the village to “easily” decorate the medians seasonally, especially for the holiday season, and the addition of water will make it easier to irrigate the planters and landscaping that will be installed.

The costs of the other change orders are $8,169 for the changeable message board; $1,632 for the temporary pavement markings; $17,750.00 for the additional storm sewers; and $14,553.00 for the additional electrical conduit pipe.

Mayor Anthony Calderone said the additional change order costs would not affect the project budget, noting the village is using tax increment financing (TIF) funds. He also said $180,000 is a small percentage of the $4.75 million project.

Gillian said the project is still on target for completion in late fall with the “number one goal” of restoring parking in front of businesses. 

The project includes pavement resurfacing between Harlem and Desplaines Avenues, raised landscaped median islands, decorative crosswalks at Lathrop and Circle Avenues, site furniture, sidewalks with a brick paver ribbon, and replacement of all street lighting with decorative street lighting. The cost will be covered by $2.46 million from the TIF fund and a $2.29 million grant from IDOT.

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