January/February 2016

By Rick Jamerson, Village Trustee

The Village Building Department is comprised of two Village employees, Rob Durning and Meghan Richardson, and is supplemented by our outside consultants; Steve Zimmerman, Village Ecologist; Pat Glenn, Village Engineer; and Mike Murrin, Village Plumbing Inspector. Our Building Department may be small, but this year, we processed 180 building permits with a construction value of almost $13 million.

During 2015 we moved from an old and no longer supported software to a new integrated software system. Our future plans include digitizing all of our property records. Since our Village is rather small, we maintain a file on every property. In most cases, we have information that goes all the way back to the original construction of the residence as well as all additions and modifications that have required permits. We are also working on a permit request form that can be filled out online. Once completed, this option should streamline many permit submissions.

The Building Department’s main function is to ensure construction is done according to the various building, plumbing, and electrical codes as well as meeting all zoning and woodland ordinances. This is not always as easy as it may sound. Code enforcement and nuisance abatement is also handled by the Building Department. These include handling issues like watering restriction violations, exterior lighting violations, and property maintenance.

Building permits are required for all new homes, additions, sheds, accessory buildings, decks, and patios. Some other work requiring a permit include remodeling, re-roofing, new and replacement driveways, siding installation, and sewer and water repairs and installations. If you are planning any type of construction, please call the Building Department and ask if a permit is needed. Tree removal, whether dead, dying, storm-damaged, or still alive, also requires a permit. Re-grading and/or adding fill to your property requires a permit as well.

Many permits can be handled “over the counter” with a quick form. More complicated permits, such as a new home or a large addition, require a more detailed review before a permit can be issued. These more complicated permits typically require reviews by the Village Ecologist, Village Engineer, Rob Durning, and at times an official from the Fire Protection District.

The permitting process begins with Meghan Richardson, the Buildings Department Coordinator. She will determine what will be necessary for securing a building permit. A Plat of Survey is required for many permit types. While it is the property owner’s responsibility to provide a survey, the Building Department may have a survey of your property on file from previous construction at the site. Current buildings must be shown and the new work should be drawn on the survey. This information will be used to verify compliance with zoning ordinances.

Drawing reviews by Rob Durning will follow as well as checks for compliance with the Woodlands Protection Ordinance. Comments will be generated, and re-submittal may be required. Once all documents are in compliance and the applicable fees are paid, a building permit will be issued. A list of required inspections is available and inspection requests need to be made at least 24 hours in advance. Contractors should be reminded that inspection requests need to be scheduled during Village Hall hours, which are 8:30am to 1:30pm Monday through Friday. Rob Durning performs all inspections except for plumbing inspections, which are performed by Mike Murrin. Failed inspections require a $75 re-inspection fee to be paid before a re-inspection can be requested. Permits are valid for one year from the date of issuance.

The Building Department is a very busy and vital component of the Village of Riverwoods. They remain at your service and will help in any way they can. Please don’t hesitate to call if you have questions about a current project or future building project.


Meghan Richardson, Building Department Coordinator – Meghan is anxious to meet you and hear all about your next project. She’ll advise and walk you through the permit process.

Meghan’s hobbies include gardening and fishing. Her current ambition is to become a Certified Arborist. In Meghan’s words, “Riverwoods is a Tree City, and I work with residents and contractors to educate them in not only our tree ordinances but also how to protect trees during construction. As of late I highly encourage prospective builders and residents to schedule an Ecological Consultation so that our trees, woodlands and wetlands are protected and preserved as they will enhance your building project.

As a full-time single mom I am truly fortunate to work for the Village because I love my job and my hours. I grew up in Wilmette, and have a very large local family ( 24 nieces and nephews) and currently reside in Northfield. My three wonderful children are the delight of my life; Ian 14, Tatum 12, and Sadie-Grace 11.”

Rob Durning, Director of Community Services – Rob joined the Village staff in May 2011 as Director of Community Services. A title that also encompasses the role of inspector for building projects within the Village.

In Rob’s words; “Riverwoods Village Hall is so charming and unique. You can see the appreciation in the faces of the people arriving here for the first time.”

When Rob is not at his desk reviewing details of proposed building projects, or stamping “approved,” he may be seen around the village inspecting a construction site, attending to a residential concern, or approving a completed project.

Rob and his wife, Robin (married on leap day 1992) reside in Cary and share their home with two shetland Sheepdogs, Cub and Lassie, and an outdoor cat who goes by the name of Muddy Waters. When asked how he enjoys his leisure time, his answer includes travel, cooking, racquetball, and adds that he is a fair-weather Cubs fan as well.

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Notification System

The Village of Riverwoods utilizes Blackboard Connect service for emergency resident notification side-by-side with the Village non-emergency resident email database. As a resident or business you can opt-in to emergency messages, non-emergency messages or both.

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