Should the village of Riverside move to rezone the former American Legion Hall building at 43 E. Quincy St. in order to pave the way for a brew pub? We have to say we’re not real comfortable about rezoning private property without the owner’s expressed consent.
While the present owner — who bought the building from the village 28 years ago — would be open to the rezoning the property to B2 Retail Core, he’s not thrilled at the prospect when there’s not a firm a deal in place for the purchase of his property.
Once it’s rezoned, he loses a subsection of potential buyers because the zoning will no longer allow certain residential uses, namely first-floor residential. Right now, a buyer could come in, knock down the existing structures and build a condominium building or apartment building.
Now maybe that’s not what the village wants, but the village itself zoned the property that way and the owner should have an expectation of use for it.
That said, we think a brew pub or similar business on that property would be great. It would fit with the kind of vibe that’s been slowly building in that area with neighbors that would include Higgins Glass, the Riverside Arts Center and Quincy Street Distillery.
But to force a zoning change over an owner’s objections? That’s dicey.