Creating a Legacy: Village Board Unanimously Approves New Tinley Code
Trustees gave the go-ahead Tuesday night to a plan that maps out changes for Tinley Park, including the downtown area, over the next 50 years.
The Tinley Park Village Board gave its stamp of approval Tuesday night to several motions that will overhaul downtown Tinley Park zoning to pave the way for the village’s future bustling commercial core.
The Legacy Code is guided by the Legacy Plan, which the board approved more than a year ago to help guide downtown development over the next 50 years, said Trustee Greg Hannon, chairman of the village board’s Planning and Zoning Committee. It has been met with scrutiny by some local business owners, but officials recently held several public forums and individual meetings, and even brought interested residents on a bus tour to identify its potential changes.
"Over the course of discussion I think we have what it is— a legacy plan," Hannon said Tuesday. "It's a plan for the next 30, 40, 50 years. … I do appreciate all the hard work and effort everyone put into it. … Hopefully future, generations in Tinley Park will enjoy what we put into place today."
During the last year, the code has been presented, discussed and tweaked.
In a nutshell, board documents say it will create six zoning areas between 183rd and 167th Streets. Amy Connolly, planning director for the village, has said those zones
include the Downtown Core, Downtown Flex, Downtown General, Neighborhood General, Neighborhood Flex, and Civic Areas.
Commercial and mixed-use properties would be centrally located in the downtown Tinley core, close to the train station. Planners have said consolidating businesses there will make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
The code also states that an already standing business won't be forced to comply with new regulations unless it's overhauled.
"Heritage sites can stay as they are forever," Connolly has said of existing businesses. "If you have a heritage business on an existing lot, it can stay as it is forever. If you redevelop the lot … it has to meet the existing Legacy Code."
A major property redevelopment would include a renovation costing half or more of a business' market value, village officials have said. But if property owners are affected by an "act of God," such as a fire or weather-related disaster, village board trustees ruled that they will be able to rebuild their property without adhering to the zoning changes—one of the major tweaks made after community-wide talks.
Owners can also take on an expansion project—adding an apartment, for those who wind up within the code's residential districts—as long as it doesn't exceed the "50 percent rule," officials said. Such additions can qualify property owners for a Cook County property tax break and will create more living options in the downtown area, which is one of the code's overall goals.
Hannon said he appreciated the "blood, sweat and tears" that went into creating the new code. Mayor Ed Zabrocki echoed those sentiments.
"I know there was a lot of work put into this plan and it's been developed over a long time," Zabrocki said. "There have been compromises along the way and we're grateful for all the work that went into it."