A proposed mixed-use development could bring a five-story, 64-foot-high residential apartment building to Riverside’s business district downtown at the property on 28-30 E. Burlington St., which formerly housed a pain clinic. 

The properties were acquired by Patrick Leone’s company in 2017. The following year, the company demolished a three-car garage and surface parking that used to serve the clinic. 

Lion Development II, LLC plans to turn the properties into an apartment building with 22 residential units and indoor and surface parking lots to serve the residential complex. 

Representatives from the company’s developer, Studio 222 Architects, discussed their plans at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week. 

Plans call for building the surface parking lot with a capacity for 11 vehicles in one of the four parcels. This requires the village to approve a rezoning petition for that parcel. Currently, the vacant parcel is zoned for single-family residential use (R1-A). If the proposal is approved, it will be rezoned for business district use (B2-RC). 

Per village code, this zoning denomination allows retail, service and office use on the ground floor to encourage a “critical mass” of services in a pedestrian and transit-friendly area. It also exempts the property from being subject to review by the village’s preservation commission. 

Developers also asked the commission to review whether they could allow special use for the ground floor for what originally was proposed as work/live units. Instead, they asked whether two of the spaces could be used for housing or commercial use. 

Property owners of two single-family homes next to the proposed development strongly opposed the proposal in documents addressed to the village.

In a letter to the village, Thomas Barr, owner of a home on Longcommon Road, said the building’s height “is out of character” for the downtown business area and is a “monstrosity.” Barr also questioned why the village or the architecture firm did not consider whether underground utilities will need to be relocated. At the meeting, engineering firm representatives said their assessment doesn’t show the need to do so, but if required, the responsibility would fall on the developer. 

Edward and Natalie Swiderski, also owners of a home on Longcommon Road, said they strongly objected the development in an email to the village. Furthermore, they said, they were never made aware of prior discussions. 

According to the architecture firm, the building will be designed to match the business district’s character and streetscape design. The building’s front would also be set back from the front lot line to maintain an open pedestrian way along Burlington Street. The village recognized there are varying opinions on the impact of the proposed development; however, it aligns with the vision for transit-oriented development and a vibrant downtown business district. 

Village staff said they also believed the parcel is more suitable for business district use due to its size and lack of access to a public street. In a memo to the planning and zoning commission, Village Planner Anne Cyran said the proposal aligns with the village’s plans for the downtown business district in support of multi-family housing and infill development. 

The village board is expected to consider the application and commission’s recommendations at an upcoming board meeting.