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Riverside has cart before the horse on development
If anyone has been watching the process of new development for Riverside's downtown area he couldn't help but ask if the village management knows what it is doing. From the Arcade Building remodeling and expansion to the proposed development of a new Village Center at the site of the old Henninger's pharmacy, there have been a number of missteps that calls to question the competency of our leadership.

Take the Village Center project. The developers have been working for months on a plan that would include both retail and residential space. Throughout the process of planning, the developers have approached the village for variances to the zoning code in order to guild a structure that requires a number of exceptions to the newly adopted B-2 requirements.

The variances include increases in both the number of stories allowed (from three to four) and dwelling unit density, as well as reductions in the width of the parking ramp access and set back requirements. The developer also requested a variation to vacate the public alley that runs through the existing property, which is actually two lots of record.

The Zoning Board of Appeals has ruled on all the variation requests except vacating the public alley, which is absolutely critical to the project as currently proposed. In fact, the developer has presented three revised building designs in the past year, and each one has noted the public alley must be vacated to develop as planned. Earlier this year when the developer raised the issue of the alley during a public hearing, the president of the Board of Trustees recommended the variation be addressed at a later date.

The plan for the Village Center is now under review by the Plan, Preservation and Landscape commissions. How can any of the village's commissions review plans that cannot be executed until a variation to vacate the public alley has been granted? Has the cart gotten a little ahead of the horse?

The only way the public alley can be vacated is by a three-fourths vote of approval by the Board of Trustees. In cases such as these, the president of the board does not vote. Additionally, there is a trustee who has abstained from voting on any matters related to this project because of a familial relationship with the law firm that represents one of the developers. That means all five of the remaining five trustees must vote affirmatively to vacate the public alley.

One would expect the village management to not only know of these requirements, but more importantly to lead the board through the process in such a way as to reduce any exposure to risk or liability.

It seems counterproductive and misleading to have the developers of the Village Center project obtain approval of various commissions before securing a variation that is absolutely necessary to the current plan. The way the village management is leading this process one might believe vacating the public alley is a forgone conclusion.

Nicholas J. Cariello

Thanks for past memories; here's to the future
I would like to thank Paul and Rose Dabrowski and all the staff at the Blue Parrot for 10 great years. You were like family to us, and visiting the Blue Parrot was more comfortable than visiting a friend's home. We will miss you all, and wish you the best of luck. Good luck, too, to the new owners, and here's to 10 more great years.

Chris Hajer

Thanks for great Rotary Oktoberfest
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the management and staff of Irish Times, and to all the volunteers who provided an extraordinary event for the residents of Brookfield and neighboring communities. The Rotary Oktoberfest Fundraiser held on Saturday, Oct. 15, that was sponsored by such generous supporters as Irish Times, Berthel Lewis Electric, Tischler Finer Foods, Fleetwood Press, Burke Beverage and Network XXIII allowed all residents to come together to support a variety of groups while enjoying a lovely fall day with their neighbors.

The music, the brats, the taffy apples, authentic German pretzels and additional treats were terrific enhancements to what all would admit to be an event that oozed true community and family spirit. The warm smiles, laughter and good will were contagious and just what the community needed as the days grow a little colder and we tend to see a little less of our neighbors.

It was really a great feeling to see so many people of all ages enjoying the day and each other's company while supporting great organizations.

Again, a heartfelt thank you!

Stacey A. Tiele

New Medicare Drug Program info
Dear Neighbors:

As you may expect with any government program, the new Medicare Drug Program can be very confusing. Each person covered by Medicare has an opportunity to select one plan among 17 different Drug Plan choices. Each Drug Plan has a different premium, different coverage and different list of covered drugs.

If you want assistance in understanding the complex new Medicare Drug Program and your many choices, you are invited to attend a free informational seminar sponsored by the Riverside Township Lions Club. The seminar is at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the Riverside Township Hall, 27 Riverside Road in Riverside.

The seminar speakers will be from the Suburban Area Agency on Aging and Southwest Suburban Center on Aging.

Since the Drug Plan enrollment period starts soon, now is the time to learn about your choices so you can make the correct decisions for your personal circumstances.

I hope to see you at the seminar!

Bill Scanlon, president
Riverside Township Lions Club

Widening streets by how much?
It was welcome news to read in the Landmark that here in Brookfield, they plan to redo the streets of Elm, Park, Oak, Sunnyside, etc. ("Brookfield weighs options for 2006 street repair program," News, Oct. 5). They also propose to widen the said streets by only one-and-a-half feet ... ouch.

These streets are so narrow that when the fire trucks or ambulance or other trucks have to come down the streets, they have to slow to a crawl when cars are parked on both sides.

As long as they plan on putting new curbs, they really should rethink only widening the streets by one-and-a-half feet.

If everyone drove a Yugo or a Mini-Cooper, that would work. I really think that the village should take a hard look at how much wider they want to make these streets. It would be a waste of time and money to stick with the one-and-a-half-foot expansion.

Ted Schwartz

? Ed note: As a matter of clarification, most streets to be resurfaced in 2006 will be widened by 1.5 feet on each side of the street, for a total of 3 feet. The Landmark regrets the error.

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