After months of review by village officials, Riverside finally has its demolition “delay” law on the books. And while there may still be some in the village who will argue that any such attempt to delay residential property demolition is an unwarranted infringement on property rights, we still maintain that such a review is ultimately for the good of the community as a whole.
As written, the ordinance is not intended to halt the demolition of homes under all circumstances. Rather, it is intended specifically to delay the demolition of historically significant residential architecture in what is a nationally landmarked village.
In the rare instances that the village’s Preservation Commission would recommend landmark status for a house whose owner want to demolish it, the intent is to find an alternative solution, not to saddle a property owner with a financial albatross.
When that happens, it may need time to help negotiate an alternative solution?”whether its finding another buyer or enlisting the help of preservation agencies for help. Waiting a year to prevent the demolition of a Frank Lloyd Wright home or a Victorian designed by William LeBaron Jenney, for example, is appropriate.
Riverside is rightly concerned about the proliferation of teardowns in the village, and this ordinance does not seek anything more than preserving that which is most special to the village.
Sometimes the old technology doesn’t look so bad. For years, using the old punch card ballots, the Cook County Clerk’s office was able to get election information back to voters within a matter of hours.
Small towns like North Riverside, Riverside and Brookfield would often know within an hour if their referendums had passed or if a new administration was voted in.
Now, a week after the March 21 primary election, Cook County officials are still counting votes in some races because of all the election day snafus?”which ranged from machines that worked intermittently or didn’t work at all to election judges who were clearly unfamiliar with the new technology.
While we’re assuming that this election was the result of people simply getting familiar with the new procedures, we can’t help but be anxious that this is going to be an ongoing problem. One look at the way Cook County government operates certainly reinforces that fear.
The real fear for us, of course, is not just that votes are getting counted slowly, but that some may not be getting counted at all. It’s up to Cook County to change that perception by making a concerted effort to clean up what was a dismal performance on March 21.