As the Riverside Plan Commission and Board of Trustees continue their slog to rewrite the village’s residential zoning ordinance, they continue to pile up consulting fees. After authorizing a consulting contract in 2003 that would pay Camiros Ltd. $41,000 to guide the rezoning process, the village is now expected to pay almost double that amount by the time the job is complete.
On Sept. 19 the board voted 5-1 to provide another $25,000 for consulting services as the process winds its way to a conclusion. Village Manager Kathleen Rush said that the Plan Commission would consider a final draft of the ordinance on Sept. 29 with the expectation that the village board could examine a finished document in October.
According to a recent memo from Rush to Village President Harold J. Wiaduck Jr., the additional fees have resulted from “the back and forth of the discussions between the Plan Commission and the village board, which has required meeting attendance and research.”
The board in March approved an additional $10,000 in consulting fees to Camiros. The final bill for consulting should be just over $73,000, according to Rush.
“Frankly, I’m tired of spending money on the Plan Commission’s desire to debate issues over and over and beat us down,” said Trustee John Scully, who voted against the additional expenditure.
Trustee Cindy Gustafson added that the last time the board met with Plan Commissioners, the board was promised an August completion of a final draft ordinance.
“I’ve had a number of citizens mention they’re anxious to see some of the changes in the document implemented,” said Trustee Thomas Shields. “I share their frustration and support the encouragement to get it over with.”
The village began its quest to rewrite its original zoning code back in the fall of 2003. The original code, compiled during the 1920s and revised in subsequent years, was difficult to interpret and enforce evenly.
With a new spurt of residential development, most notably teardowns, in recent years, village officials felt rewriting the code would make it easier for the village to control both new home construction and significant additions to exiting homes, so that the historic character of the village wasn’t compromised.
Camiros, which had served as the village’s consultant during the rewriting of the zoning ordinance for the downtown business district, was hired to lead the residential rezoning effort in December 2003.
Since that time, the rezoning process has involved not only Plan Commission and village board members, but residents. The village held a pair of workshops in 2004 seeking resident input on a variety of issues, ranging from driveways to a design review for new construction.
“The Plan Commission needs to be encouraged to move this along,” Wiaduck said.