Before you open a new business, it is important to make sure the use is permitted within the Zoning District in which the property is located. If you are building a new structure, adding to an existing structure, or developing vacant property, you may also need to submit a site plan and subdivide your property. This section briefly describes the Zoning and Subdivision issues that you may encounter. The full Subdivision Ordinance (Section 94 of the Municipal Code) and Zoning Ordinance (Section 118 of the Municipal Code) can be found in the Document Center.

The review of development proposals is the responsibility of a team of Village Staff from the departments of Economic Development and Planning, Community Development, Public Works, Police, and Fire. Based on the type of development involved, the departments of Recreation and Parks and Health may also be involved. Several types of planning approvals require review and approval by the Plan Commission and the Board of Trustees. The Plan Commission meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month. The Board of Trustees meets on the first, second, and fourth Mondays of each month.

This web page will provide you with all the information you need to get started. If you have any questions as you get started on your project, call the Economic Development and Planning Department at 708/283-5622.


Home Occupations

Section 118-43(c) of the Park Forest Zoning Ordinance limits the type of business that can be conducted from home, within any residential zoning district, and defines the manner in which the business can operate. In general, the following applies to home occupations:

  • Only one person, other than family members who reside in the home, may work for the business
  • The business use must be clearly incidental to the residential use of the home (no more than 25% of the floor area of the home can be devoted to the business use)
  • There can be no change in the outside appearance of the building
  • The business must be conducted entirely within the home
  • There may be no sales of commodities on the premises
  • No traffic greater than what is typical for a residential area may be generated
  • Delivery of goods, supplies, or equipment must take place between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • No equipment may be used that creates noise, vibration, glare, fumes, odors, or electrical interference that is detectable off the lot to the normal senses
  • Boarding of animals or the operation of a kennel is not permitted
  • The home occupation must obtain a business certification from the Village

Zoning Map Amendments

In order to determine the zoning designation for a property, click on the Zoning Map. As the Zoning Map is in a “pdf” format, you can pan around and zoom in or zoom out of various sections of the community using the tool features. The Zoning District legend is located at the bottom of the map. Street names are identified, but the addresses and property index numbers are not shown for each parcel. In most cases, however, you will be able to obtain the zoning for a property if the street name is all that is needed.

If you cannot determine the zoning designation of a particular parcel using the attached map, contact the Economic Development and Planning Department for assistance. If the land use you wish to develop is not permitted in the zoning district, the Staff can also advise you on the appropriateness of seeking a Zoning Map Amendment. The appropriateness of a particular zoning change will depend on a variety of factors, such as the surrounding land uses and zoning districts, and the Village’s future plans for the area as documented in the Village’s comprehensive plan. Requests for Zoning Map Amendments must be considered by the Plan Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees.

Conditional Use

In some cases, a land use may only be permitted within a Zoning District with a Conditional Use permit. Park Forest’s Zoning Ordinance largely limits Conditional Uses to the Residential Zoning Districts for uses such as religious facilities, day care centers, and hospitals and nursing homes. In limited cases, fabrication, repair and processing uses are permitted as a Conditional Use in the C-2A Commercial zoning district. Approval of a Conditional Use must be considered by the Plan Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees.

Planned Unit Developments

A planned unit development is a zoning overlay district that allows for the creation of unique standards for the use of land within a particular development. Some of these unique standards may provide for a variety of housing types or land uses, greater residential densities, appropriate common open space, and alternative setbacks between buildings. In addition, the Zoning Ordinance recognizes that due to the uniqueness of each plan, it may be necessary to modify or waive specifications for public improvements, such as utilities, streets, and sidewalks. A planned unit development application is typically submitted concurrent with a preliminary plat of subdivision, and both must be considered by the Plan Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees.


If the location of buildings or other improvements on your property does not comply with the design requirements established by the Zoning Ordinance for elements such as building setbacks, building height, and lot coverage, then it may be appropriate to obtain a variance. An application for a variance must be considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals, and in some cases by the Board of Trustees. Variances for land uses cannot be considered.


Whenever land is to be subdivided into two or more parcels with the intent of transferring ownership or developing the land, it is necessary to create a plat of subdivision. If the property is not currently served by public water and sewer services, then this process requires both a preliminary plat and a final plat. These applications are considered by the Plan Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees. Property owners are encouraged to meet with Village Staff early in the process to obtain feedback about the proposed subdivision design and the process for consideration of a subdivision plat.


Properties that are not within the municipal boundaries of the Village of Park Forest, but are contiguous to the Village’s corporate limits, must be annexed to Park Forest as part of the development process. This process requires the approval of an annexation agreement that is considered by the Plan Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees. Contact the Department of Economic Development and Planning to begin the discussion of this process.


It is best to contact the Economic Development and Planning Department as early as possible in your planning process. Any information that you share with staff will be kept confidential until you actually formally apply for permits/approvals. We realize that confidentiality is very important in a competitive business and real estate climate and we will not violate your trust.

A typical development process should generally follow these steps:

  • Familiarize yourself with Village regulations and approval processes.
  • Contact the Economic Development and Planning Department to set up a concept meeting with staff to discuss your project and verify approval requirements and timelines.
  • Prepare detailed plans.
  • Submit preliminary engineering plans, if needed, for review and formal approval.
  • Submit final engineering plans and building plans for review and approval.
  • If applicable, establish appropriate letter of credit.
  • After all permits are approved, begin construction.

As you prepare your project, please remember that it is easier for the Village to respond quickly and with accurate information to a well-thought-out plan. The more details that you can provide helps ensure that you get complete answers and good directions from the beginning. Projects are not reviewed or entered into the approval process until all of the required information is provided.


The Village of Park Forest and the Department of Economic Development and Planning are committed to helping you through the development approval process.

You can count on upfront information and professional insight and advice relative to project approvals. Each person who seeks assistance is treated with respect and honesty. The Village of Park Forest takes extreme pride in working to bring outstanding quality developments to town.