A plan calling for six townhomes at 3727 Sunnyside Avenue in Brookfield looks to be headed for defeat, as village trustees and Village President Bill Russ showed little support for the plan Monday night.
The board will not officially vote the plan up or down until its regular meeting on April 25, but Russ openly gave his thumbs down to the plan, while trustees showed little in the way of support.
At the same time, neighbors in the vicinity of the property turned out yet again to condemn developer Steve Campbell as an opportunist looking only to make a quick buck. Mark Gaber, whose property on Fairview Avenue backs up to the Sunnyside Avenue parcel made a lengthy, impassioned plea for the board to vote the plan down.
“The development shows total ignorance, no regard for the master plan,” Gaber said. “This puts a stake in the master plan before we even start on it.”
Gaber was referring to the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan, adopted by the village board earlier this year. It which shows the 3700 block of Sunnyside Avenue as a consolidated parcel of land with a condominium building surrounded by ample green space and parking.
Opponents of Campbell’s plan have said that the six-unit townhome development would be squeezed into too small an area and invade the privacy of its neighbors.
Campbell, meanwhile, argued that the plan is less dense than a condominium building would ever be?”30 units per acre versus the 50 or 60 units per acre a condo building would bring. He also argued that the townhomes were in line with recent residential development within the Grand Boulevard business district, and far less dense than the Brookfield Terrace condominium building on Brookfield Avenue. That building’s density is 102 units per acre, Campbell said.
Campbell also illustrated the difficulty of combining parcels to achieve the vision of the master plan. After stating that Marvin “Bud” Payne, who lives on the block, said his house was available for the right price?”starting at $350,000?”Payne’s wife strode to the microphone to dispute that claim, saying, “Nobody in this town ever made an offer on my property. That’s a lie.”
“This is the problem,” said Campbell. “If they don’t want to leave, it’s hard to push them out. All I want to do is build on my lot, with your permission.”
Campbell added that if anyone should buy the Payne’s property for $350,000, he would be more than willing to sell his land for the same price per square foot. Campbell bought 3727 Sunnyside in December 2004 for $105,000.
“If someone wants to buy my property for the same price as Bud’s, I’m in,” Campbell said.
Mrs. Payne also said that Campbell had been contacting Brookfield’s code enforcement department and had inspectors sent to neighboring homes. Campbell admitted that he had made calls to village hall concerning code violations. That action amounted to harassment, said Gaber.
“I refuse to sit down and be harassed by this man,” Gaber said. “I’m asking the village to stand up and do something about it. Right now, we have an opportunity to send a message that this won’t be tolerated.”
Sensing the board’s frame of mind, Campbell asked the board to give him some informal indication of what their votes in two weeks might be. He said that he had rented the frame, one-and-a-half story house that currently sits on the land.
“If you don’t want the townhomes, if you can give some sort of direction, then [the tenants] can go ahead and redecorate, so they can move in in May,” Campbell said.
Grand Blvd. condo vote April 25
The board also heard a presentation from owners of 3704-08 Grand Boulevard, who want to erect a four-story, mixed-use commercial/condo building in place of the one-story commercial structure currently
Trustees will vote on the matter, based on the recommendations of the Brookfield Zoning Board of Appeals, on April 25. In February, the ZBA, voted to recommend granting four of five variances. The variance it did not grant concerned the developer’s plan to include one parking space per unit.
Trustees Will Brennan, Alan Dorobiala and Kit Ketchmark all voiced concern about the lack of parking for the number of units.
Developer Jack Mahler said that architects could easily turn the three-bedroom units into two-bedroom units to more closely conform with the zoning code. But he reiterated to trustees that making the building three stories and shrinking the number of condo units from 12 to eight would not be feasible.
“We have considered that,” Maher said. “But at eight units it’s no longer a viable project.”