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OAK PARK, IL-This suburb just west of Chicago is undergoing its first rewrite of its commercial zoning ordinance since the 1970s. The city also is rewriting its zoning laws — last done more than 40 years ago.

Village officials are midway through public study sessions on the zoning changes, having had the first two public study sessions in May as well as earlier this month. One more session is scheduled for July 24, with a formal public hearing to follow Aug. 6. Adoption could come in September.

The current commercial zoning code “is outdated and inadequate to deal with the challenged posed by the changing landscape of today’s current commercial development environment,” says Village President Joanne E. Trapani. She says a problem with the zoning laws is that it fails to adequately plan for the future.

“During the recent real estate boom it’s become all too evident that not only do our current commercial zoning regulations inhibit desirable economic growth, these outdated rules do not adequately protect residential neighborhoods from encroachment by undesirable development,” Trapani says.

In addition to a controversial Euclid Terraces mixed-use redevelopment behind the Oak Park Avenue retail strip, village officials have dealt with numerous requests from developers seeking to build townhouses on lots bordering residential and commercial areas.

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