The Riverside village board and Plan Commission moved one step closer to completing a new residential zoning code for the village in a joint meeting July 25, deciding that garages will be required to match newly constructed residences and the maximum width for driveways can be increased in some instances.
Both items have been discussed by the board and the commission in the past, with the board rejecting the commission’s earlier proposals. The process of creating the new comprehensive code ordinance has taken several months. At their meeting last Monday, trustees and planning commissioners debated changes that would be made to the fourth draft of the document.
These changes include a requirement that in the case of new construction of a principal residence, detached garages must be made of the same or similar material as the residence. This new rule was a compromise between the board and the commission, which originally wanted to code to require that all garages be constructed of the same material as the principal residence.
The board rejected this suggestion, however, arguing that it would place a financial burden on residents who wanted to repair non-matching garages but did not have the money completely rebuild a new garage that would comply with the new ordinance. It was generally agreed that in the case of new construction, this financial burden would not be the same.
“If someone can afford to buy a property and tear it down, they should be able to afford a garage that matches,” Trustee Candice Grace said.
Even without that argument, however, the issue still split the board. Trustees Cindy Gustafson and Thomas Shields were against the regulation. Trustee John Scully could not attend the meeting, but in an e-mail to the board he said he was also against the requirement.
“I see a lot of garages around town that are different from residences that aren’t inappropriate,” Shields said. “I just don’t see the problem with it. I think there are so many different variables, and to try to regulate something like this is just going beyond what’s necessary.”
With a tie-breaking vote from Village President Harold J. Wiaduck Jr., however, the requirement did pass. Those trustees in support of it argued that the new regulation would ensure quality construction of both the principal residence and the garage.
“We’re really talking about the next generation of homes in Riverside, and I think this is an opportunity that we have good quality construction,” Trustee William Scanlon said. “In my mind, it would probably be a good idea to require that new residences also have a garage with the material to match.”
The board was more in agreement over a decision to increase the maximum width of driveways from 10 to 12 feet when a resident used a more permeable material than the traditional concrete or asphalt. Acceptable materials mentioned at the meeting included pavers, permeable concrete or grasscrete, a porous concrete pavement that allows grass to grow through it.
These alternative materials would maintain the appearance of green space in the village, which was the main reason for the original 10-foot limit. They are also more environmentally friendly, allowing for more water absorption and therefore less run-off.
Although some trustees wanted to know more about the technical aspects of the permeable materials, most were in favor of the compromise.
“I personally would like to see permeable surfaces, less asphalt and concrete drives, and encourage people to use permeable surfaces,” Trustee Kevin Smith said. “And let’s give them a bonus of two feet if they’re willing to go permeable.”
Other decisions made at the joint meeting included establishing a list of unacceptable building materials for new construction projects in the village, based on materials that have been used in the past that haven’t worked as well as expected. Trustees also decided to set a limit on the number of stories for future residences, to avoid having developers who sink new buildings below grade to fit an extra story within already existing height limits.
From here, the village’s consulting firm, Camiros, will incorporate the new changes and present the board with a fifth draft of the code. Wiaduck said he hopes to have the final version approved and adopted later this month or in early September.