Under a new zoning amendment approved by Forest Park’s village council, it will now be possible for 700 to 1,000 homes in Forest Park that were previously unable to build additions to do so.

These homes, which have non-conforming side-yard setbacks, can now increase building area under specific conditions. 

The code requires a side-yard setback on a 25-foot lot, for example, that the building be at least 10 percent or three feet (whichever is greater) from the lot line.

Owners of houses that did not meet this requirement were prohibited from making any additions or enlargements to the building area of their home.

The new amendment changes this, allowing additions or enlargements. According to Steve Glinke, who oversees building and code among other duties, it’s too restrictive to automatically disallow all these property owners from making improvements, whether they’re homeowners or developers looking to enhance a property.

For example, he said, lately he’s seen a lot of homeowners wanting to add master suites to their homes on the first floor.  

People “want to stay in their house,” he said.

He added that this change in code “supports home ownership and development” by allowing property owners with non-conforming buildings and structures to seek approval for additions that do “not specifically impact light and air rights of adjacent properties.”

Village Attorney Nick Pepper said shadow studies are one way to determine if light or air is being impacted. 

“Behind everything there is a person,” said Glinke.