Riverside is a wonderful village, with what they define as “conforming and non-conforming” lots. But this request for, with Ms. Zuckswerth (“Riverside board OKs zoning variance for fence,” News, Aug. 21), seemed to have taken too much time and really did not support the effort behind local governance to be efficient and timely with decision making.

Even though Ms. Zuckswerth previously submitted a hard-copy proposal to her request to install a fence on her property, some of the questions brought on by village board members, made me wonder if they even took the time to read the proposal that she submitted.

Additionally, from a code perspective, what defines a conforming versus that of a non-conforming lot, remained up to (more so with non-conforming) more of an individual interpretation.

If the distinction is made within the village (conforming vs. non-conforming) then both definitions have to be well-supported, well-defined and legally presented. If the village defined her lot as a non-conforming lot, then it seems logical that the village could assist with options and alternatives to what parallels requests for variances for conforming lots.

To cite in the Landmark article, that Trustee Jean Sussman stated “she did not consider it a hardship that certain homeowners might not be allowed by code to have a fence (without justification) and she flatly was against the variation recommendation,” and furthermore for her to say “I don’t think there’s an inherent right to have a fence” without any legal basis to make this comment, nor providing alternatives to the requested variation seems problematic with small government and really only shows her opinion to this issue — that only wasted people’s time. But it goes back to having non-conforming lots to be defined as clearly as conforming lots are.

This process took too much time (nine months) and with an entry fee of $1,000 seems ludicrous and needs total revamping. This was a small project, Ms. Zuckswerth worked hard for neighborhood approval and support and worked up a tastefully landscaped project.

What the village stated was behind the costs of the $1,000 entry fee also needs to be re-looked. What this entire effort only supports is for village residents to take matters into their own hands and not seek permission from the village for making zoning and building variations.

All the while, Ms. Zuckswerth was trying to execute the proper process through the village of Riverside.

Clark Burner

Editor’s note: The “entry fee” according to village officials represents the cost of holding the zoning hearing, notifying neighbors, hiring a court reporter and creating a verbatim transcript of the hearing, among other things. In Zuckswerth’s case, the village board lowered the fee to $250 and eliminated the need for a verbatim record. The board is currently reviewing its zoning process for smaller projects.