The Village's Development Approval Process

At times various development or redevelopment projects in the Village may require special zoning permission such as a Planned Development or Special Use Permit.  The purpose of this guide is to provide residents and applicants with more information regarding the Special Use and Planned Development permit application processes. 

Residents can participate in these processes by attending public meetings such as the resident meeting, public hearing, and Village Board Meeting where an application is discussed.  Notices of these meetings are sent to all property owners within 500 feet of the proposed project site.  Links to each application are provided below and include meeting dates and links to agendas.  If you are unable to attend a meeting but have questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Jessica Spencer, Assistant Village Administrator at or by telephone at (708) 366-8500.  For more information about these processes, please review the visit the Important Links below. 

Planned Development Permit

In River Forest, a planned development is a development of 20,000 square feet or more of land area or gross floor area, new multi-family housing development, or the reconstruction of existing multi-family housing that is damaged beyond 50% of its value.  The Zoning Ordinance also allows the development of any property or tract of land in any zoning district, regardless of size, to be submitted as a planned development as there are certain projects that require greater consideration of their impact on surrounding properties and the Village in general.  Further, no new construction, expansion of any building, or the addition of any parcel(s) or change of use is allowed in a Public/Recreational/Institutional (PRI) district, unless a planned development permit is granted.

Planned developments, which provide greater flexibility in design, must follow the approval process outlined in Section 10-19 of the Village's Zoning Ordinance which is summarized in the Planned Development Permit Application Process Flowchart (see Important Links below).  To discuss a new planned development or to amend an existing planned development, please contact the Assistant Village Administrator's office at (708) 366-8500.  

Special Use Permit

The Village’s Zoning Ordinance contains a land-use chart that identifies which uses are permitted (P) or prohibited (N) in certain zoning districts, and which uses require a Special Use permit (S) or a Planned Development permit (PD).  There are certain types of uses which because of their specific characteristics, or the services which they provide, cannot be permitted in a particular district without consideration of the impact of such use upon the neighboring properties, and of the public need for such particular use at a particular location.  In those cases, an approved Special Use permit is required before the use can be initiated.

Special Use Permit applications must follow the approval process outlined in Section 10-18 of the Village’s Zoning Ordinance which is summarized in the Special Use Application Process Flowchart (see Important Links below).  To discuss a new special use permit, please contact the Assistant Village Administrator’s office at (708) 366-8500.

Important Links