Elections, Law and Order, Local, Park Forest, Politics

Village Ordinances Explained: Political Signs, Garbage Bins, Fire Pits & More

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—In our latest installment explaining Park Forest village ordinances, we review regulations concerning political signs and canvassing, garbage bin placement, summertime noise restrictions, fencing rules, and permissible grass length.

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Village of Park Forest Logo courtesy of the Village of Park Forest.

Park Forest Director of Community Development Jerry Martin, Park Forest Deputy Village Clerk Angela Thurston, and Park Forest Deputy Fire Chief Mark Cotrano assisted us in writing this article.

Since we are entering what could be a very contentious political season, are there rules about displaying political signs in yards?

Authorities recently modified the rules in Park Forest to align with Illinois state law.

Residents may place up to four signs. In residential areas, the signs must not exceed five square feet in size and six feet in height. Signs may not be on the parkway portion of a lawn.

When are residents or businesses allowed to place political signs? When must they remove them? There are no restrictions.

Are there village ordinances regulating door-to-door political canvassing?

While solicitors must register with the village, there are exceptions for political and religious canvassers. According to Deputy Village Clerk Thurston, there is no requirement for a political canvasser to register.

Two trash bins at the curb, one with lid open
Garbage and recycling bins left out are common complaints, according to village officials. (Photo John Hudzik)

Some residents fail to place and retrieve their garbage bins promptly. A few leave their bins at the curb all week long. Are there ordinances outlining when residents may place bins at the curb and when they must return them to the house?

According to Community Development Director Martin, one of the most common complaints is about garbage bins. His department fields critiques about those who leave bins out days after the trash collection.

According to the village ordinance, residents may place bins (garbage and recycling) at the curb no earlier than 2 p.m. the day before collection. Residents must remove them no later than 10 p.m. on the collection day. Bins may be at the curb after 2 p.m. Monday except for the one-day delay on holiday weeks. All bins must be back at the house by 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Martin noted that the village intends to monitor and enforce this ordinance rigorously in the coming months.

photo of man with white hair and beard wearing suit and tie
Jerry Martin, Park Forest Director of Community Development, assisted eNews Park Forest with answers regarding village ordinances. (Photo VOPF)

A frequent summer issue concerns lawns with excessively long grass. Is there a rule about how long grass can be? How should residents report lawns that need attention?

Martin stated that village rules require residents to keep grass eight inches or shorter in length. Residents who wish to report a violation should contact the Park Forest Building Department at (708) 503-7703.

Photo of man wearing fire department officer's uniform
Park Forest Deputy Fire Chief Mark Cotrano explained the rules regarding safely operating a fire pit. (Photo eNews Park Forest)

Some residents have fire pits in their yards. Are there rules regarding what type of material residents may burn?

Deputy Chief Cotrano stated that there is a village ordinance outlining the rules regarding fire pits.

The fire pit being used must be a wood-burning device “sold and marketed specifically for outdoor use, of no more than eight cubic feet in capacity.” (Section 307.4 of the village code)

The wood burned must be “clean, dry, non-painted or treated.” The ordinance explicitly prohibits burning tree or bush trimmings, paper, other combustible debris, and rubbish and garbage.

Because of the increased danger of fire and safety, fires are not allowed if the temperature is 90 degrees or higher or if an ozone alert has been declared.

Finally, the fire pit must be positioned to avoid smoke, fumes, or noxious gases spreading to neighboring properties.

Village representatives can extinguish the fire if it creates a “hazardous or objectionable situation.”

Since we are now in the summer season when more landscaping and building activities take place, are there village ordinances regulating when these activities can occur?

Martin clarified that weekday landscaping and building activities are permitted only from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m..

Similarly, with increased outdoor parties, are there noise regulations that residents should be aware of?

Park Forest enforces noise restriction rules from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. Residents wishing to report noise incidents during this period should contact the Park Forest Police Department’s non-emergency number at 708-748-4700.

Are there rules regulating the allowable height of fencing around yards?

Village ordinances allow fences around the front and corner yards to be a maximum of three feet in height. Fences around interior side yards or rear yards can be at most eight feet.

A Park Forest building permit is required for a fence installation.

Previous articles on ordinances

Previous eNews Park Forest stories on ordinances have included articles on regulating dogs and cats, and vehicles and parking regulations.

If you have questions about other rules or ordinances, please send them to [email protected]. eNews Park Forest will try to answer them in future articles.