FRG Village Board proposes home tour rules

FOX RIVER GROVE – Home tours at Fox River Grove residences with architectural or historical significance would need a special-use permit to take place under a new proposed village ordinance.

The proposed home tour rules were reviewed Wednesday by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which gave a green light to the proposal.

Village Board members are scheduled to review the proposal at their Sept. 5 Committee of the Whole meeting.

If approved, a home tour would be identified as use of an owner-occupied residence or property with special architectural or historical significance for either home tours or special community-related events or activities, or both, that involve members of the public, whether any fee or donation is involved.

Home tours would not include showing a residence or a property to potential purchasers or renters, under the proposal.

Home tours would be allowed only with a special-use permit, which are approved or denied by the Village Board. People who give home tours would have to submit a parking and traffic plan, and a calendar of proposed events and activities. There could be limitations on hours, the number of tours and the number of people allowed to participate in the tours.

Signage and other advertising would be restricted, and there would be periodic inspections by the village.

With a special-use permit, the village could put in certain conditions to mitigate any impact on neighbors for the tours to take place, said Julie Tappendorf, an attorney with Ancel Glink hired by the village to help write the proposed ordinance.

Residential property owners giving tours became an issue in recent years when the village filed charges alleging that Bettendorf Castle owner Michael Strohl had violated the rules of the residential zoning area in which he lives by inviting visitors to his home for a tour. Strohl was found not guilty.

Ted Johnson, who lives near the castle, said many residents have signed a petition against home tours at the building.

“This ordinance is a door-opener to an application to get a special permit,” Johnson said.

Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Dan Celske said the proposed ordinance puts a process in place for people to come and ask for permission for a home tour.

“There was no ordinance before. …This is actually a benefit to the neighborhood, because it requires somebody to come in and get permission from the zoning board and eventually the Village Board to do it, where as before they could go and do it and there was nothing on the books [that] prevented it, if they did it a certain way,” Celske said. “It’s not opening any door that wasn’t already opened.”