Landmark off base on substandard lots

I believe that I have read your recent editorial “Diminishing returns” (The Landmark View, May 17) with some care and must disagree with several points made therein. Let us begin with a point upon which we agree.

“What is most disturbing … is that the village has shown no consistency in dealing with the issue over the years.” Truer words were never spoken. The reasons are more numerous than the Landmark has space. Multiple reasons and excuses, both good and bad, come into play.

That said, a need for zoning was first established in Brookfield some 80 years ago. Zoning protects collective property values from the fly-by-night property owner, who maximizes his profit at his neighbors’ expense, then departs to look for another “development opportunity.”

“Those cases argue for the rights of the property over a code that was implemented well after land was legally platted.” The premise is faulty both in basis and in fact.

Regarding the date the property was platted?”so what? The standard should be, “What was the code in place when the owner purchased it?”

Either he bought it knowing the code restrictions, or he can claim that his “rights” should be “grandfathered as the code was changed after he bought it. I own four 25-foot lots, side by side, in Brookfield. That is the way Sam Gross platted and sold them in 1894. Do I have a right to build four homes that are 20-25 feet wide because the plat predates the zoning code?

“… there are scores of substandard lots in Brookfield occupied by houses … 80 to 100 years old. What happens when owners want to demolish those homes to build new?” In the 1950s the Brookfield village government proposed redefining a buildable lot as one 60-front-feet wide. Nothing smaller would be built upon.

If an established home on a smaller lot burned, it would not be rebuildable unless the owner could buy the needed frontage from a neighbor. The current PEP Party was organized and won its first election running against this proposal?”especially the last sentence.

It was a red herring then as it is today. Fifty years have passed, and you cannot cite an example in this category. The source of this current brouhaha recently assured me that Brookfield is not Hinsdale and teardowns cannot happen here.

“If it’s the village’s wish to promote keeping substandard residential lots vacant to provide buffers and play areas, then it should begin acquiring them for that purpose. It isn’t fair to expect private owners to foot the bill for such a purpose.”

Contrary to what one might independently gather from the editorial comments, there are very few free-standing, independently owned substandard (less than 50 feet or 25 to 40 feet) lots in Brookfield. More than one dozen of these are already “owned” by the village, the gift of a developer who probably took a massive tax write-off when he left town.

Most properties that you think fall into this category are actually oversized parcels with a single owner. The original owner built as close to the parcel boundary as was legal in order to maximize the size of the side yard for the kids to play in.

It is legal to sell or spin off some fraction of such a parcel; however, there is a very good ordinance about redrawing the lines such that the existing home is suddenly resting upon a substandard lot. Furthermore, there is a good legal notion that buying a substandard lot to build on may make you stupid, but it is not a “hardship” as defined in the zoning code.

C.P. Hall
 C.P. Hall is a Brookfield village trustee.

Mobile classroom is a valid solution

I find it unfortunate that the District 95 board must consider a petition that opposes the temporary placement of a mobile classroom on their own property. If the board feels utilizing a temporary structure to alleviate space issues within the school during much needed renovations, then they should definitely do it.

The teaching staff has already voiced their opinion in favor of the mobile classroom, so why doesn’t the board heed their advice? After all, those very teachers are the ones who spend their day in that school teaching our children, and I believe that they should have the loudest voices to help determine the best solution. There’s no doubt that there is a serious space issue already within the school, and cramming more classes or programs into smaller spaces to make room for construction does not sound like the right answer.

The basis for the anti-trailer petition is that the homeowners adjacent to Brook Park School feel that the trailer will “lower their property values.” After a quick drive around the blocks that border the school, I noticed several “For Sale” signs in the front yards of several homes. Petition signers, no doubt.

Let’s not forget that the school district extends out much farther than 30th, Harrison, 29th, and Raymond. I personally don’t think it is fair that the district and its teachers can’t make the proper decision because a few people want to sell their homes right now. Some of those home sellers may not even stay in the district, so their decision to block a valid solution may adversely affect my children, and I cannot sit back and watch that happen.

To summarize, the school needs some serious renovations and repairs, and that would require relocating classrooms away from the construction areas within the school. The temporary placement of a mobile classroom on school property will allow for this. How much more will this trailer “lower property values” than the school itself has not already lowered them? We’re not talking about an entire trailer park here, only a single mobile classroom. Give me a break. Let them use the trailer.

The rest of the school district should be aware of the enhancement to their property values that only a good, well-staffed, up-to-date school can provide.

John Hanna

Battle of Bands a success, thanks to many

On May 21 Brookfield held its first Village of Brookfield Battle of the Bands. We invited bands from the local high schools, junior highs and middle schools. We had eight bands (Locke, Happy Suit, Critical Point, The Detours, One Cord Short, Ted Dancin’, Elysium and WD) compete for a top prize of a professional recording session. I want to thank these musicians for their talent and professionalism. A great time was had by all, with a receptive and well-mannered crowd in attendance.

I would like to take this opportunity thank our sponsors: VMR Productions, Washburn Guitars, After Hours Formalwear, All American Music and Sound First National Bank of Brookfield, Chris’s Green Pocket, Rende Realty, Scola’s Collision Center, Cock Robin, Hyper Entertainment and Brook-Park Senior Social Club.

I would also like to the following business who provided raffle prizes: Arby’s, Aunt Diana’s, Bill’s Place, Blueberry Hill, Border’s Books, Brookfield Auto Supply, Casa Margarita, Crown Trophies,Chipotle, Highland Queen Drive-in, Hot Rags, Magic Wok, Noodles and Co., Palmer’s Place, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Roly Poly Sandwiches, Starbucks and Trader Joe’s.

Last, but most certainly not least, we would like to extend our appreciation to Patrick and Mike of A Sound Education. Without their expertise, hard work and enthusiasm, this event never would have come about. It certainly would not have been as successful or as much fun.

Arlene Rovner, Mary Pezdek, Jessica Rovner
Brookfield Recreation Department

Residents pushed aside on Rockefeller plan

My family lives on the corner of Rockefeller and McCormick avenues in Brookfield. To put it mildly, my neighborhood was shocked to read your article (“Rockefeller parking lot headed toward approval,” News, May 24) about the RB parking lot funneling down our quiet street, around the corner from our Hollywood Elementary School.

We were never considered in this decision. Our children and their school were pushed aside. We all feel very strongly that this will affect the quality of life in our neighborhood. It also will put the safety of our children in harm’s way.

We have all gathered out on Rockefeller Avenue with your article in hand?”trying to figure out what our next step will be to halt this plan by the Village of Brookfield. We have assembled a petition and now are getting signatures. We hope to present this to the village soon and voice our concerns.

I was told by the Village of Brookfield manager that he felt they had enough feedback to make this decision. It’s completely offensive that the village considers the zoo and RB High School (in Riverside) first before discussing this plan with the people who pay taxes and cast votes and live where this will affect most.

I feel strongly that very near 100 percent of this area north of Washington Avenue will sign this petition along with a strong showing of the rest of the Hollywood School families. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Had we not read it in your article, we would be learning of it as they began construction.

Laura Tracy

Rockefeller plan needs cul-de-sac

It was with disappointment I read your story that it was likely that Brookfield would soon be converting part of Rockefeller Avenue to a parking lot for the high school (“Rockefeller parking lot headed toward approval,” News, May 24).

The old Riverside-Brookfield High School parking lot exits into First Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the area. The plan for the new parking lot and, presumably, the new parking structure to be built [north of the] high school is for exits into Rockefeller Avenue and Golf Road.

A planned cul-de-sac to block access to the residential part of Rockefeller Avenue was somehow eliminated since the plan was originally presented to residents in the winter. This cul-de-sac, which was designed to maintain delivery access to the Brookfield Zoo at Hollywood Avenue, was a crucial part of the original proposal.

The elimination of the cul-de-sac has been championed by Village Trustee Linda Stevanovich, who claimed that impeding the traffic flow onto Rockefeller would increase congestion when she went to drop and pick up her children from the high school. She also stated that the cul-de-sac would be dangerous and block emergency vehicle access to those on Rockefeller Avenue.

If this elimination of the planned cul-de-sac is to benefit the residents of Rockefeller Avenue, then maybe we should be allowed to again voice our opinions against it. I really am confused about how having increased numbers of novice drivers, in a high traffic situation, driving through a residential neighborhood with many small children, is not dangerous.

The last time I looked at the part of Golf Road that feeds into Ridgewood Road and Washington Avenue, I didn’t see any houses on it. And Ridgewood and Washington Avenue are already two of the biggest, busiest roads in the area.

If the plan is to make life easier for RBHS juniors and seniors by increasing parking opportunities, then parents that drop their children off at the school should be willing to settle for more traffic and the Rockefeller Avenue cul-de-sac.

Brookfield should take a lesson from Chicago where the usage of cul-de-sacs has helped create and preserve neighborhoods that are safe for playing children. If our village trustees are really concerned about emergency vehicle access to the zoo and the Hollywood area in general, then they should work on eliminating the Salt Creek.

Guy Adami