Forest Park has some curious zoning.
The north side of the village is the ultimate mish-mash. Which is what made it poignant and somehow amusing, Monday night, when the Plan Commission heard a developer’s proposal to build three townhomes on the 7400 block of Franklin. The single-family homeowner next door has every reason to object personally that a small home currently on the site would give way to a far denser and taller development. The project, even at a pleasingly reduced height proposed at the 11th hour by the developer, will seriously mess with Thomas Kovac’s lovely garden and impinge on the privacy of his backyard deck.
Ultimately, though, the commission ruled unanimously that Kovac had no legal case since the development falls fully within longstanding zoning for the block.
What’s odd, as Paul Barbahen, the commission chair, noted, is that in a town of non-conforming uses, it is actually Kovac’s single-family home which is the non-conforming use on a block zoned for somewhat denser development.
The commission’s unanimous recommendation in favor of the in-fill project was clearly correct and we expect to see the village council ratify the development.
The legacy of single-family homes on the north side is eroding, has been for decades. Much of what was allowed under loose zoning over the years is illogical and unattractive and has not fostered a sense of community. This action, though, is logical and consistent with choices Forest Park has made.