Riverside Village Manager Jessica Frances said officials would seek to dismiss a lawsuit the village filed against a local resident late in 2015 after the resident voluntarily removed an illegally constructed address monument from the public right of way in the 100 block of Nuttall Road.
Frances confirmed that the sign was demolished by the owner of the property on the afternoon of Jan. 27. The village didn’t receive notification that the sign had been removed, she said.
“Obviously our goal was compliance,” said Frances. “Now that it’s removed, we will ask that the lawsuit be dismissed.”
Kevin McGrath hired Berwyn-based Yuritzy Landscaping Inc. in late 2014 to construct the monument, a stone structure measuring roughly 3-by-6 feet.
McGrath believed the land on which the monument was constructed belonged to him, since it was on the house side of the sidewalk. However, in Riverside residential property lines often do not extend all the way to the sidewalk. Rather they meander closer and farther away from the sidewalks as they curve along the roadways in Riverside.
According to the lawsuit filed by the village in December 2015 asking a judge to order the sign removed, McGrath built the sign six feet outside of his property boundary, on village-owned land.
Throughout 2015, the village and McGrath went back and forth over the sign. McGrath applied to get a retroactive building permit, but the village board denied the application in October 2015 and ordered the sign removed.
McGrath responded by threatening to sue the village over the matter if the village attempted to remove it themselves. So, Riverside filed its lawsuit asking for the removal of the sign and for fines of $750 per day — almost a full year — the non-compliant sign existed.
Both sides were scheduled to meet in court for a status hearing on Feb. 26. The village will instead file a motion to dismiss the case.
That case and an unrelated instance, in which a home contractor installed windows to a local landmark house without first obtaining a certificate of appropriateness, had a secondary effect in pushing the Riverside Village Board to tighten its rules with respect to contractors who do unpermitted work on village properties.
On Jan. 21, village trustees voted unanimously to amend its code to add more stringent penalties for offending contractors. Specifically, the village can now automatically suspend a contractor’s local business license for two years if they are found to have worked without a permit twice within a 36-month period.
In addition, the village maintains a policy of doubling permit fees for work done without a permit and doubling the license fee of a contractor who is not licensed to work in the village of Riverside.
“We’ve now equipped the village with the tools if it happens again where work is being done without a permit to suspend the license if it’s a second occurrence with three years,” Frances said.