Riverside appears to have dodged a bullet, at least for the time being, now that the owner of a historic, landmark property in the village has withdrawn his application to subdivide the land to create an additional buildable lot.
While it was unlikely that the village board would have gone along with the subdivision request — the Planning and Zoning Commission had unanimously recommended against it — there was some concern that a court challenge might follow.
And while the Riverside Village Code includes a preservation ordinance that calls for the village board to protect historic properties just like the one at 225 Longcommon Road, the village’s own zoning code appears to allow subdividing properties regardless of their perceived importance to the village’s historic character.
While people in Riverside might generally agree on how those kinds of properties ought to be protected, once it gets into a court of law all bets are off.
It appears that the subdivision application had other problems, such as a plat of survey that didn’t match county records. Apparently, the original plat of survey no longer exists and it’d take some effort and expense to recreate it.
As a result, the subdivision request was withdrawn. In the meantime, the village’s board of trustees in September voted to impose a moratorium on any other subdivision requests while staff and attorneys hash out the language in the village code so that it matches the intent of the preservation ordinance.
Once the new language is in place, it hopefully will prevent another attempt to seek subdivision of that or any other historic property in Riverside.
If nothing else, the episode was a wake-up call for officials to take another look at possibly contradictory language in its code. The last thing anyone wants to see is the historic character of Riverside jeopardized.