Planning and Zoning Approval

Home Occupations

Article III-D.2. (Home Occupations) of the Park Forest Unified Development Ordinance describes the types of businesses 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:

  • Business must be conducted entirely within the home, and no more than 25% of the floor area of the home can be devoted to business use.
  • No on-site retail or wholesale transactions are permitted.
  • Hours of operation with respect to outside visitors are limited to the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Deliveries and shipments are limited to those carriers that typically operate in residential neighborhoods.
  • The business operator must obtain a business certification from the Village.  
  • The business operator must reside in the home, and one additional non-resident employee is permitted.
  • A maximum of four visitors associated with the home occupation are permitted at any time.
  • Parking associated with the home occupation must be accommodated on-site.
  • One sign is permitted, provided it does not exceed two square feet in area, is not illuminated, and is located on the wall or in the window.  See Article VII-4.A. (Permanent Signs Exempt from Permit Requirements) of the UDO for more detail.  

Site Plan Review

A site plan must be submitted for review and approval by the Zoning Administrator for all development and redevelopment (except single-family and two-family developments of less than four units) for addition to existing structures that result in an increase in gross floor area, capacity, or a number of dwelling units by 15 percent or more (except single-family and two-family developments), and construction of a new parking lot or expansion of an existing parking lot by 15 spaces or more. Unless a major variation is requested as part of the site plan review and approval process, a site plan can be approved by the Zoning Administrator. See Article VII-3.B. of the UDO (Site Plan Review) for more detail about the submittal and approval of a site plan.

Special Use Permit

In some cases, land use may only be permitted within a Zoning District with a Special Use Permit. Park Forest’s Unified Development Ordinance identifies Special Uses in Table III-2.A. (Use Table), and the process for approval of Special Uses is described in Article VIII-3.C. (Special Use Permit).  Approval of a Special Use Permit must be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees.


If the design of your development does not conform to the design requirements established by the UDO for elements such as building setback, building height, lot coverage, parking, or signage, then it may be appropriate to request approval of a variation.  A variation is only granted based on very strict standards to ensure that the basis for the request is truly a unique situation that poses a hardship on the developer/property owner that is not experienced by others.  Minor variations, as defined in the UDO, may be reviewed and approved by the Zoning Administrator.  Major variations must be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees.  Variations from the use regulations of the Ordinance cannot be considered.  More details about Minor and Major Variations can be found in Article VIII-3.D. (Variation) of the Unified Development Ordinance.  

Zoning Map Amendments

In order to determine the zoning designation for a property, access the Zoning Map. By viewing the Zoning Map, you can pan around and zoom in and 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 advise you on the appropriateness of seeking a Zoning Map Amendment. The appropriateness of a particular zoning change will depend on various factors, such as the surrounding land uses, 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. See Article VIII-3.E. (Zoning Text and Map Amendment) for more detail regarding the process for Zoning Map Amendments.  

Zoning Appeals and Zoning Interpretations

Any individual affected by a decision of the Zoning Administrator may appeal those decisions for consideration by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The process for consideration of a Zoning Appeal is contained in Article VIII-3.F. (Zoning Appeal) of the UDO. An applicant involved in an existing development project may request a Zoning Interpretation from the Zoning Administrator to formally clarify or explain the standard in the UDO. This process is described in Article VIII-3.G. (Zoning Interpretation).  

 Planned Unit Developments

A planned unit development is a unique type of Special Use Permit that allows greater flexibility in the application of the standards contained in the Unified Development Ordinance. This process is used when a significant development proposal includes amenities not typically required in conventional developments. Some of the unique standards requested by a developer may provide for various housing types or land uses greater residential densities, appropriate common open space, and alternative setbacks between buildings.  In addition, the UDO 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/or sidewalks. The Special Use Permit application for a Planned Unit Development may be submitted concurrent with a Preliminary Plat of subdivision, and both must be considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees. A detailed description of the standards and process for approval of a Planned Unit Development is found in Article VIII-4 (Planned Unit Developments)


The Unified Development Ordinance provides Park Forest businesses with a wide variety of sign types from which to choose. With some minor exceptions, a sign permit is required prior to the erection, construction, alteration, or relocation of any sign. The process for obtaining a Sign Permit is laid out in Article VIII-3.H. (Sign Permit) of the UDO. Article VII (Signs) describes in detail the design standards for each type of sign and the requirements for construction.


Whenever land is 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 currently served by public water and sewer services, then a Minor Subdivision may be possible. Minor Subdivisions can be reviewed and approved by the Zoning Administrator. If the property is not currently served by public water and sewer services, then a Major Subdivision must be submitted. The Major Subdivision process requires both a preliminary plat and a final plat. These applications are considered by the Planning and Zoning Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees. Property owners are required to meet with Village staff early in the process with a sketch plan for the proposed Minor or Major Subdivision to obtain feedback about the proposed subdivision design and the process for consideration of a subdivision plat. Article IX (Subdivisions) of the Unified Development Ordinance describes the process for review and approval of Subdivisions. Article X (Subdivision Development Standards) describes the standards for the design and layout of blocks, streets, and lots, street standards, requirements for public improvements, and school and park site dedication obligations.  


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 Planning and Zoning Commission and approved by the Board of Trustees. Contact the Department of Economic Development and Planning to begin discussing this process.