A River Forest commission trying to keep people from knocking down historic homes has locked down a date for a public hearing: Feb. 3 at Roosevelt Middle School.

The Historic Preservation Commission has been tasked with protecting historic homes in River Forest but given no binding tools to do it with.

So earlier this year, they went before the River Forest village board with a proposal to give their board some teeth.

They’re trying to get the power to veto any proposal to demolish a historic home, as well as the power to force homeowners to come to the meetings.

At a recent meeting, the commission made plans to send out letters to try to drum up interest in the changes.

“We want to get something out there beyond the people in historic homes and the historic district,” the commission’s outgoing chairwoman, Laurel McMahon, said at a Dec. 9 meeting. “This is bigger than that. It affects the whole village.”

So at the village board’s request, the commission has scheduled a Feb. 3 hearing in Roosevelt Middle School’s Auditorium, where they’ll take public comment on the idea of changing the ordinance.

The commission’s incoming chairman, David Franek, said that he wants to get out ahead of the issue before that meeting.

“There are assuredly folks who will be in determined opposition,” Franek said. “I hope we would never have to use this, but I think we need it.”

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Ben was Wednesday Journal's crime, parks, and River Forest reporter, until he kept bugging us enough to promote him. Now he's managing two of Wednesday Journal's sister papers in the city, Chicago Journal...