A proposed River Forest Historic Preservation Ordinance, three years in the making, will finally be voted up or down on June 11.
Village President Frank Paris last Monday said that he’d hoped the ordinance could be decided then, but acknowledged that was likely unrealistic with three brand new trustees on the board.
Trustee Susan Conti was already familiar with ordinance from her time serving as Village Clerk, but trustees Stephen Hoke and Stephen Dudek each said they had a couple of issues due to their newness to the board.
Dudek said he attended some past village board meetings and was concerned about the cost of implementing such an ordinance. He said he wanted feedback from the village staff at the next meeting to know what the total price tag will be for village taxpayers.
Hoke said he would like to see an education program about the ordinance to tell the public more about it. He also questioned the nature of the ordinance.
“I’m not confident that what we’re doing is really going to have any impact,” he said. “I’m very suspect of ordinances for ordinances’ sake, and I don’t think we should burden the village code with a landmark ordinance that no one’s going to take advantage of.”
He said he’s supportive of the landmark process but wonders if it might be better to rely on some of the alternatives that are offered by the state.
When Paris said there would probably be between 12 and 15 homeowners who took advantage of the ordinance and Hoke questioned whether that small amount was worth all the time and effort being put into crafting and passing it.
Despite some of the issues, the board seemed to be nearing a point where it could vote on the ordinance. Trustee Russ Nummer, who has posed a number of skeptical questions regarding details of the proposed ordinance in the past, held up his fingers an inch apart and said “We’re this close.”
Trustee Patrick O’Brien, a supporter of the measure, said he was ready to vote this past Monday and it was time to put the conversation to rest.
“I think we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve almost talked it to death,” he said.
In light of the discussion, the board agreed to go through the language of the ordinance line by line at its next regular meeting on May 29. They hope to iron out any wrinkles and reach a consensus that all issues have been addressed before taking a final vote.