After narrowly passing an amendment to a village ordinance to mandate that carriage walks and driveway aprons be constructed of exposed aggregate concrete, the Riverside village board may be looking into amending that law further.
A majority of the board comprising Village President Michael Gorman and trustees James Reynolds, Lonnie Sacchi and Mark Shevitz first stopped a bid to table the proposed amendment and then voted it into law. Trustees Joseph Ballerine, Ben Sells and Jean Sussman voted against it.
“To me uniformity is not necessarily the end all, be all … What I don’t want is more [broom-finished] concrete poured,” Shevitz said. “I do not want this village board endorsing policies that makes that hardscape much more visible, glaringly so, than the landscape.”
At the same time, however, it appears that the new law regarding concrete poured on public lands will get an immediate review. Ballerine urged his colleagues to table the issue until it looked into alternatives cheaper than exposed aggregate, which costs roughly 40 percent more than broom-finished concrete.
Village law already mandates the use of exposed aggregate on all Riverside sidewalks.
Ballerine, Sells and Public Works Director Ed Bailey recently met with two representatives of Andreas & Sons concrete contractors, who reportedly told them there are other solutions that would sublimate the concrete visually and do it more cheaply than exposed aggregate.
“We can actually get that type of specification made without it costing us 40 percent more,” Ballerine said. “All we have to do is take the time to do it.”
They also reportedly told the trustees, they would advise against pouring exposed aggregate for driveway aprons.
“I asked them, ‘If it was up to you, would you use exposed aggregate on driveway aprons?’ And in unison they said no, because they said they would not use exposed aggregate on any place that is going to be plowed,” said Sells.
Sells added that the reps from Andreas also told them it would be impossible to get a uniform mix of exposed aggregate for the village’s sidewalks and driveway aprons.
“So, one, you’re not going to achieve your goal of uniformity of appearance and, two, you have people who do this for a living saying this is a bad idea,” Sells said.
But the majority wanted the new law in place in order to have a standard they were comfortable with. While open to amending it down the road, they wanted a safeguard against more broom-finished concrete being poured for driveway aprons and carriage walks.
“This ordinance does not specify that formula,” said Gorman of Ballerine’s suggestion that such a formula might be crafted in the future. “That can be added any time before now and the time we start pouring concrete. I’d like to see this move forward so we have a standard.”
Sacchi, who championed the new law calling for wider use of the exposed concrete, agreed with having that standard in place, despite the fact that no concrete is scheduled to be poured until at least the spring of 2012.
“I’ll sleep a lot better,” Sacchi said.
One thing that all trustees appear to agree on is a provision in the new law that gets rid of the so-called Swanee River aggregate used for sidewalks in the central business district. The concrete is distinctive, with larger stones set in the cement mix.
Recent examples of the concrete downtown have been particularly poor in quality. Some of the gravel also has a tendency to pop out of its concrete bed after a winter or two.
“The plan would be as this starts to fail we’ll be replacing it with the new aggregate we’re looking at here,” Reynolds said.