Spacing for Group Homes Reduced, Price Set for Hidden Meadows

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Park Forest Board of Trustees took the final steps in securing a price and investor for the former Hidden Meadows golf course property for development at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees July 16.

The ordinance for the sale and transfer of the property, located at the Northeast corner of Crawford Avenue and Stuenkel Road, passed final reading with no discussion. The ordinance, which was unanimously approved, stipulates the sale price to be $2,232,000 and Lake Shore Investors LLC as the preferred developer.

The board also passed an ordinance amending the zoning ordinance regarding spacing requirements for group homes located in the single family residential district, changing the spacing requirements from 1200 to 600 feet from another such facility.

Trustee Ken Kramer suggested an amendment to the ordinance, changing the spacing requirement from 600 to 800 feet.

“I remember back when we were working on this several years ago, but we don’t want to concentrate group homes in any one neighborhood,” Kramer said.

Trustee Gary Kopycinski said he was more comfortable with the language the village law firm suggested for the ordinance.

“Its my understand there haven’t been successful challenges up to this point, but we want to ensure there are not going to be successful court challenges in the future,” Kopycinski said, referring to a potential court challenge of the spacing alleging a violating of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

Village Manager Tom Mick said there are currently 12 such homes in town which breaks down to about 0.2 percent of single family of overall housing stock.

“If you factor it in over all 9700 addresses in town, it’s about 0.012 percent,” Mick said. “You are talking about a very small percentage.”

Mayor John Ostenburg said he was not in favor of changing the ordinance from 600 to 800.

“I see [group homes] as a benefit to the community,” Ostenburg said. “I have never had a complaint come to me about an actual group home setting. I’ve had people express fear prior to a group home location somewhere, but I’ve never had anyone come to me about the residents of a group home.”

The proposed amendment was rejected with a vote of five to one. The original ordinance was then voted on and approved with a vote of five to one.