The Forest Park Zoning Board of Appeals erased an archaic ban on live music and dancing in the B-1 zoning district, a move designed to allow the handful of bars and restaurants zoned B-1 to legally host live entertainment.
The board voted on the measure Monday, Nov. 15 at village hall. The vote was the only item on the agenda and came as a “companion piece” to action taken by the village council in October, according to Director of Public Health and Safety Steve Glinke.
The village council rewrote a section of village code regarding what are now called entertainment licenses at its meeting on Oct. 12, something that was prompted by an examination of the code following the village’s decision to temporarily ban all live entertainment in restaurants and bars over the summer.
The Nov. 15 move by the zoning board impacts only the small number of restaurants and bars zoned B-1, or Neighborhood Shopping, in village maps. B-1 zones are few and somewhat scattershot throughout the village but primarily include the west side of Desplaines Avenue between Monroe Street and Jackson Boulevard, a stretch that features Forest Park’s village hall, police station and fire station.
Other B-1 plats include some of the area surrounding the Park District of Forest Park, around half of Concordia Cemetery and precisely two addresses on the north end of Lathrop Avenue. One is the Oak Park Montessori and the other the Lathrop House Café at 26 Lathrop Ave.
The previous zoning laws allowed a variety of residential and commercial uses in B-1 with one odd caveat. Regulation 9-4A-1 of the village code said allowable uses included “restaurant and/or liquor licensees where no live entertainment or dancing facilities are provided.” The restriction on “live entertainment and dancing facilities” was removed Nov. 15.
Lathrop House Café, one of three restaurants owned by the Scratch Restaurant Group, serves primarily breakfast and lunch with occasional special-event dinners at its B-1 zoned location. The next such event, a five-course That 70s Christmas Supper Club is Saturday, Dec. 4 from 5-10 p.m. and includes live music.
Dancing shoes are optional.