River Forest trustees voted unanimously on Nov. 12 to allow residents to park at the village-owned parking lot at 418 Franklin Ave.

In June, the village bought the parking lot from Fifth-Third Bank for $355,000 as part of its efforts to redevelop the property at the southeast corner of Lake Street and Park Avenue. Since then, 28 of its parking spaces sat unused. Village staff reasoned that, given the demand from residents and businesses alike, there was no reason to leave the parking lot empty until the development plans emerge.

When the village bought the parking lot, it came with two deed restrictions. It can’t be used for any banking-related use for 10-years, and it can’t be used for any cannabis-related businesses for as long as the village owns the land. Other than that, the only limits are the zoning classifications, which allow the village to use it for parking.

The parking lot has 28 parking spaces, with eight parallel parking spaces on the south end of the lot and 20 perpendicular parking spaces on the north side of the lot. 

In a memo to the village board Sara Phyfer, the village’s management analyst, wrote that another nearby village-owned parking lot at the southeast corner of Lake and Park has five 24-hour spaces, and 10 spaces for overnight parking. 

All spaces are limited to residents with valid permit. The village has seen increasing demand for 24-hour parking lots, with five residents from the nearby condominiums currently on the waiting list. 

Staff recommended opening up the eight parallel spaces for 24-hour parking and opening the remaining 20 spaces for three-hour parking. The three-hour limit, the memo stated, was something that several businesses on the south side of Lake Street, between Park and Franklin avenues, have been asking for. 

The fee for the 24-hour parking spaces will start off at $110 per month, but it will go up to $120 a month, effective May 5, 2020. That would bring it in line with other 24-hour parking spots in village-owned lots.

More information on how to apply for a 24-hour parking permit can be found at vrf.us/forms/form/15.

Igor Studenkov

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