North Brookfield is not a ‘slum’
I resent Mark A. Roegner’s assertion (“Of check sign offs and sign removal,” LETTERS, Feb. 16) that “everyone else in Brookfield refer to people living north of 31st Street as the slums of Brookfield.”

I live in Brookfield and I do not refer to people living north of 31st Street as “the slums of Brookfield.” But if I did live north of 31st Street, and didn’t have one already, I would promptly install a “No Rezoning” sign on my lawn, if only in response to Mr. Roegner’s insult.

In fact, I would encourage everyone who lives north of 31st Street to do so. Maybe they can ask Bill Russ to personally lend them public funds to pay the $750 fine.

Victor Skade

Only too happy to engage in war of words
So now it seems the VIP party wants to sue me for making disparaging remarks about them. The definition of disparaging is to “speak of slightly; belittle and reduce in esteem, disgrace, humble” and “to deprive someone of his rank.” None of which I have done.

But it seems like Trustee Brennan has disparaged me. He accused me of being the one to give Trustee Garvey a copy of an anonymous letter, he discussed me by name in an open forum and it seems according to the VIP Party that they never voted on my settlement agreement. I believe that that makes the agreement null and void.

I am not the only person in the Village of Brookfield who has an ax to grind with the VIP Party.

What I did do under advice of counsel was tell the truth about a check I was ordered to write. I did my job and wrote the check. Can the VIP Party tell me that I did wrong? The answer is nothing, other than the fact that there is an election coming up, so they are using me as a scapegoat.

Now if VIP would like to get into a disparaging war, I will only be too happy to do so. I have been out of that toxic environment since August of 2003, and I just want to be left alone. I told the truth. Sue me and let’s see who wins.

And let’s not forget, the two trustees you people are now investigating voted against my null-and-void settlement.

Michele Catanzaro

Make public aware of the impact the Henninger project will have
An open letter to the Riverside Village Board of Trustees:

Contrary to what you may think, I, like a lot of other residents, want to see Riverside’s Central Service Core improved and revitalized. What we don’t want to see is some oversized, too tall, precedent setting structure with too little parking for its residents, guests and employees crammed onto one of the most visible and important sites in the village.

Therefore, in order to have the best possible development of the property at the corner of Longcommon and Burlington, I request the Riverside Board of Trustees and design review Committee to:

1. Require the developers to provide accurately scaled impact drawings that show the true size of their proposed building in relation to the other existing buildings before any permits are issued.

These should clearly show all the sides of the building from several perspectives and angles and be checked for accuracy. Ideally, these should show the proposed structure superimposed on photographs taken from all sides and from various distances, so that the viewer will be able to understand how this structure will alter views from Forest, Burlington, Woodside, Akenside, Nuttall and Longcommon roads and Centennial and Guthrie parks.

2. Publicize and make these drawings and photographs widely available, so that all the residents of Riverside may better understand exactly what size and type of structure is being proposed, and to form their own opinion as to whether or not a building of this size–one that is not in compliance with the height, bulk and setback requirements of the building code–is appropriate for this very sensitive site.

3. In order to allow the residents of the village an opportunity to fully visualize what the granting of these variances will mean, the developer should be required to erect steel story poles to show, on site, the full height, size and bulk of this structure.

These should be left in place for a minimum of 60 days so that everyone concerned will be able to clearly see and consider how this proposed structure will alter the views of and character of the downtown area.

I request that these procedures be undertaken as expeditiously as possible, and before any further decisions on this structure are made.

Donald Spatny

Village of Riverside can’t legally give Henninger variances
The Central Business District (CBD) of Riverside was rezoned two years ago to allow larger buildings in the hope of revitalizing the CBD. The issues raised in the variance request were carefully reviewed during that process.

The setback on Burlington, the number of stories and unit size were all carefully considered and reviewed at no small cost in time and dollars to the village and its citizens. The needs of this site were considered specifically. From time to time during the process, proposals had surfaced for this site, always beyond what the Plan Commission thought should be put on this site.

The basic requests are to allow more density (more units than allowed on the space they own), smaller average unit size, on space beyond where the code would allow them to build, with less parking than required by the code.

A variation shall be recommended only if the evidence, in the judgment of the Zoning Board of Appeals, sustains each of the three conditions:

1. That the owner of the property in question will suffer undue hardship in absence of such variation

2. That the plight of the owner is due to unique circumstances; and

3. That the variation, if granted, will not alter the essential character of the locality.

Although most of the discussion has been about financial hardship, a request needs to sustain all three conditions. The reason the plight needs to be due to unique circumstances is so it would not be applicable generally to other property within the same zoning classification.

The specific requests to build outside the building lines for the lot, higher, with more floors and increased unit density without enough parking is not only applicable to other property within the same zoning classification, but is something most developers look to do everywhere to achieve a higher profit from the property.

Changes to the zoning code two years ago will alter the essential character of the locality if a building is put up that is designed to the new limits. This building would do this and they are asking for more.

The Zoning Board of Appeals did not do its job reviewing this request against the criteria required by the law. Although Village President Jack Wiaduck properly deferred a vote to allow more consideration of the issue, it seemed only Trustee Kevin Smith, a lawyer, realized the real problem.

The requests are not unique, and would make the new B2 zoning impossible to enforce in the future once precedence is set. There also does not seem to be any undue hardship and it will alter the essential character of the locality.

The proposed real maximum building height of the new building is 55 feet, not 45 feet. The structures that brings it up to 55 feet are similar to structures found on the Arcade Building which was used to justify the 45-foot height put into place.

A loophole in the new building code does not count these structures in the height. It seems it is intended to use these features for vaulted ceilings in the penthouse condominiums. This will bring the new upper ceiling height to over 54 feet, twice as high as was allowed in the old building code.

Another item either missed or overlooked by the village during its review of the design was the elimination of the setback north of the development east of the public alley.

The developer seems to have been allowed to redefine the property so as not to need to provide the green space required by the map that is part of the B2 zoning code. Redefining the setback as their driveway used to service parking and garbage removal needs. Only Trustee Kevin Smith seemed to understand this problem.

The proposed development does not meet the requirements of the B2 zoning code, and the variances being requested cannot be granted legally under the rules of the variance ordinance.

If the variances are granted by the board there could be legal objections and problems enforcing the code in the future. The option exists to make changes to the code, but do we really want to do that?

Tom Barr