When village boards take a final vote on significant motions or ordinances, it can appear that months of work in preparing complicated drafts comes down to just minutes of pro forma discussion and then a roll-call vote.
Typically, though, boards devote entire meetings to fine-tuning draft ordinances and hashing out differences of opinion, long before the final vote. Currently, the Riverside village board is dissecting the proposed residential zoning ordinance that the Plan Commission and Camiros Consulting have crafted over the past year.
On March 8, Riverside Village Trustees met in a roundtable format with members of the Plan Commission and representatives of Camiros in a continuation of the previous evening’s Committee of the Whole meeting. With tables arranged in a small square, no gavel, no member nameplates and virtually no audience, the mood was relaxed, but businesslike.
The board reached several important decisions regarding the language they wish to see in the final ordinance.
Village President Harold J. Wiaduck periodically polled the trustees to decide whether and how the proposed ordinance should be changed based on a majority vote. After Camiros prepares a final draft with whatever revisions the trustees request, trustees will then vote on the entire ordinance.
The board made short work of the Plan Commission’s recommendation that homeowners be forbidden from renting out garage space, rejecting it in a unanimous poll.
The trustees, however, accepted the Plan Commission’s recommendation that all attached, front-loading garages should be limited to separate 9-foot doors per bay, as opposed to allowing the double/single door configuration commonly seen in new homes. Plan Commission Chair Karen Layng explained that the commission’s intent was to subtly discourage attached front-loading garages in new construction projects.
But, the trustees overrode the Plan Commission’s recommendation that the 5-foot side setback between houses should be measured from the foundation. Instead, they decided to retain the dripline as the base point for measurement.
Trustees also nixed the recommendation that eaves automatically be allowed to encroach two feet into the setback, saying that automatic encroachments might allow houses to be too closely spaced.
The Plan Commission recommended changing the current requirement that garages be set back three feet from the property line to allowing them directly on the property line. The trustees decided to keep the three-foot setback, measured from the building foundation. However, eave encroachments on garages will be permitted into the three-foot setback, even though they are banned on houses.
The board also addressed the issue of what, if any, additions will be permitted to a wall that already encroaches on the required side setback. Vertical encroachment?”adding a floor to an encroaching wall?”will be allowed.
“Horizontal encroachment into the rear of the lot will not be allowed and will be consistent with our current ordinance provision,” said Village Manager Kathleen Rush. “And the provision that no new non-conformities will be permitted is retained.”
According to Layng, the Plan Commission developed this language to ensure that homeowners had the option of creating a palatable addition to their homes, rather than tearing them down in frustration with overly restrictive zoning.
The board’s paragraph-by-paragraph review was to continue Monday night after press-time. A final vote on the new zoning ordinance is expected within the next several weeks.