Over a year after first coming, the Brookfield Zoning Board of Appeals gave its approval last week to a purposed plan to build four single-family homes and 18 townhomes near the old Buresh’s Lobster House.
The plan must still meet the approval of the village board, which is expected to look at the plan at its April 25 meeting. In marked contrast to previous meetings about earlier development plans for the site, just one person spoke in opposition of the plan at Thursday’s meeting. With resident opposition at a minimum, the current plan is expected to pass easily through the village board.
“We’re all very happy,” said Dan Cook, who many credit with the key behind-the-scenes work to make this plan a reality. “The community came together, and it shows that strength in numbers can make a difference.”
After the Brookfield Plan Commission voted in February of 2004 to allow the land to be rezoned for development of 18 townhomes and a 48-unit condominium building, Cook started to hold meetings in his basement every other Sunday with local residents.
“We probably had 40 to 50 people for each meeting,” Cook said. “This was really a grassroots organization that came together to stand up to the developer.”
The newly adopted 2020 Master Plan for Brookfield gave Cook and Co. the ammunition it needed to battle.
“I talked with the developer through the architect [John Schiess],” Cook said. “We stuck to our guns the entire way. We didn’t want the area to be rezoned, because if we allowed that then there would have been a good chance there could have been more development in the future.”
Cook did admit, however, that there were fears that the developer would pull out of Brookfield and build somewhere else.
“We were so close to working a deal with the last developer that was here, that there was no way we were going to lose this one,” Cook said. “In the end, we actually gave a little more than what we wanted to. But everyone is happy and that’s what matters.”
The plan calls for six three-story townhomes facing 31st Street, with four facing Vernon and Prairie avenues. Four more townhomes will face north toward four single-family homes, which will be separated from the townhomes by a sidewalk and a 10-foot grass side yard.
A driveway just north of 31st Street gives access to the complex. As in previous versions of the plan, each townhome has its own two-car garage. But unlike other versions, the complex also includes four exterior visitor parking spaces.
The single-family homes will most likely be 2.5-story homes and 30 feet in height. The three-bedroom homes will include detached two-car garages at the rear of the property.
The plan also calls for the garages of the single-family homes to be accessed from the existing east-west alley north of the property. A north-south alley will run from the middle of the existing alley to the garages.
According to Schiess, if the village board gives its approval, demolition of the old Lobster House and construction of the development will begin as soon as possible. He added that the entire development should take between nine and 12 months to complete, with completion tentative slated for spring of 2006.
“We’re real grateful,” said Schiess. “Having gone through the process put me in a place to appreciate the neighbors and their concerns about everything they voiced from the beginning.”