RF village board OKs 60-day teardown moratorium

? Ordinance will ban single-family home teardowns with intent of reconstruction until May 10.

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After discussing one alternative approach, the River Forest village board Monday night accepted the recommendation of the village's Zoning Board and approved an ordinance banning demolition of single-family homes for subsequent reconstruction.

The ordinance passed by a 4-2 vote, with Trustees Michael O'Connell and Barbara Graham dissenting.

The change to Chapter 5, section 2, paragraph E of the village code, reads: "Limited moratorium: through and including May 10, 2005, or until such time as the Village Board completes action on proposed amendments to the residential housing regulations in the Zoning Code, whichever occurs first, no single family home shall be demolished, nor shall construction of any such home be commenced."

Developer and River Forest resident Jane Levy, a moratorium opponent, once again questioned the need for any moratorium and expressed concern that any extended ban on teardowns and rebuilds that "went on and on" would adversely affect property values.

But Village Clerk Patrick Hosty countered that the ordinance's time limit would effectively avoid Levy's concerns.

"We're not talking about going 'on and on,'" said Hosty. "We're talking about a specific 60-day period here." That specific time period, Hosty said, would serve to bring the task of revamping the code "to the front burner."

The moratorium, which was already effectively in place through administrative action, is intended to allow the village's Zoning Board to finish its comprehensive review of the zoning code. In an effort to expedite that process, the Zoning Board decided to split off review of the single-family code at its March 3 meeting. It is currently about "85 percent" through the process of revising that section, according to Village Administrator Charles Biondo.

"Theoretically, this moratorium may last only two weeks," said Village Attorney Jon Gilbert. "The basic elements of the changes will be before you at the March 28 meeting."
Biondo opined that he considered such a rapid turnaround unlikely, but added, "I think we can finish within 60 days."

In other news, Biondo informed the board that, based on new state legislation, newly elected village officials will be sworn in and take their seats at the first scheduled board meeting in May, which is, coincidentally, May 10.
CONTACT: bdwyer@wjinc.com

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