Village Considers Strategic Planning Options

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Spacing of group homes, the strategic planning board process and the future of Hidden Meadows Golf Course were discussed at the Park Forest board of trustee’s meeting Monday evening.

An amendment to the zoning ordinance regarding spacing requirements for group homes was brought up for discussion. The current village ordinance states group homes must have a minimal of 1,200 feet spacing from another such facility. The proposed amendment from the plan commission would amend the ordinance to 600 feet in the single family zoning district, making spacing consistent with the multi-family zoning district requirement.

“We are striving to have some consistency with in the entire zoning code as far as restriction for group homes,” said village manager Tom Mick.

In a memo to the plan commission from Hildy Kingma, director of economic development and planning, Kingma said the village attorney advised that group home spacing that singles out particular minorities such as the disabled is in violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

“Case law has noted that if the government is allowed to impose quotas (such as spacing requirements) on the number of minorities who can move into a particular neighborhood, the federal law would be violated,” the memo read.

The village attorney recommended keeping the amendment at 600 feet for consistency after a suggestion of 800 feet.

“The concern was making sure that if someone challenged it, the village would be in the best position to defend it,” the attorney said.

The strategic planning process for the next fiscal year was also brought up for discussion. The board was presented with a list of potential questions for a community survey, with the central theme focusing on the Scenic Ten Race.

Trustee Georgia O’Neill objected to the phrasing of one potential question, which was worded “Would you like to see the race continue at a cost to the Village of $30,000 – $40,000 per year, or $3.33 – $4.44 per household?” O’Neill said she found the question to be unbalanced, and only list the cons.

Trustee Gary Kopycinski suggested adding a preamble to the question, “Are you comfortable with”, referring to the cost spent on the race. Trustee Mae Brandon agreed with the objection, stating the quested needed to be rephrased.

The comments from the board meeting will be crafted into a new survey to be drafted, Mick said.

Discussion was also held on the proposed ordinance authorizing the sale and transfer of property of Hidden Meadows Golf Course to Lake Shore Investors, LLC.

Mick said the ordinance is only establishing a developer and a price, and there are still several planning steps to be taken.

“There is a lot of work to be done between now and the time we close on the property” Kingma said.

Both ordinances will have final reading at the next board of trustee’s meeting.

Trustee Robert McCray was unable to attend the meeting, still recovering from surgery.  Mayor John Ostenburg was unable to attend, but participated in the discussion via speakerphone. Senior Trustee Ken Kramer was appointed president pro tem in Ostenburg’s absence.