Put a roof on the darn building
For weeks I’ve been confounded by the great wailing and gnashing of teeth over the roof of a “historic landmark” (“Vote delayed on Coonley roof repair,” News, Aug. 17).
From what I understand, a 91-year-old woman with failing health needs to put a roof on the home she has lived in for decades. Her facilitator says this is not a problem. She would like to live out the balance of her life in this home. Her facilitator says this is not a problem.
Now, for some reason, Riverside says this is a problem. Apparently, it is not the exact roof Riverside would like to see on the house. The village is worried about the aesthetic integrity of an outbuilding this woman and her husband saved from the wrecking ball years ago.
They would prefer to let the rain and snow destroy her home while they wring their hands over how to force this ailing, elderly woman exhaust all her remaining assets on a roof that appeals to their sense of panache.
Even State Treasurer Topinka weighed in on the “difficult situation” (“Creative thinking needed on Coonley quandary,” Judy Baar Topinka, Aug. 10). How is this difficult?
Let’s face it. Clearly, the situation is temporary. At 91, suffering with Alzheimer’s, her time on this earth is dear. Yes, it is a Wright building. There is no doubt any future owners will be aware of this and will act accordingly. Wright aficionados are well acquainted as to the expense and many foibles in maintaining works of this eccentric architect.
The bottom line is that her home rapidly being destroyed by the elements. She deserves more than that. C’mon guys, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. I think even Frank Lloyd Wright would agree.
Extension a dangerous precedent
I hope Riverside President Jack Wiaduck and board members understand that my opposition to the granting of variances for the proposed Riverside Center project at the Henninger site is motivated by a real concern that this project is simply too large and out of scale for such a prominent site with so small a setback.
The action Aug. 15 to in effect “grandfather” in the four-story variance granted previously for another design on a smaller lot seems ill-conceived at best. The board understood perfectly well when it threw this bone to the developers after turning down the other four variance requests, that the previous design was no longer viable and would not be built. So to now simply grant the same variance for a design that you haven’t officially yet seen is, again, a dangerous precedent.
This project, like Topsy, has “just growed” in every dimension and the number of units it will contain. When the Preservation Commission saw it, they were most negative about it. Yet the board, except for Trustee Smith, without seeing it, seems to want to push it along.
Whatever is built there will be around for a long time and set a precedent for what follows. Why isn’t the board interested in seeing something built at that important site that sets a benchmark for good design and compatibility with its surroundings?
If four stories (within the overall height limit set by the code) turns out to be right, then fine. But since the developers have now enlarged the scope of the project and the parcel it will occupy, it seems to me that any new design they put forth should start with a new, fresh design review. That’s what’s right for Riverside.