Not enough parking could stall a proposed condominium development in the 3600 block of Forest Avenue.
The Zoning Board of Appeals last Thursday recommended approval for half the variations needed to proceed with the 18-unit project. A variance to build three stories high passed, but a request for providing fewer parking spaces than required by code failed.
Clarendon Hills-based Bass Builders plans to replace two single-family houses at 3627 and 3631 Forest Ave. with a 2.5-story townhome-style condo building. Because of a technicality in village code, the structure is being considered three levels.
Several residents spoke up about parking problems and occasional congestion on Forest Avenue. Neighbors said cars fill both sides of the narrow two-way street, especially when the Brookfield Church of Christ at 3700 Forest Ave. holds Sunday services.
Paul Becker, a longtime resident of Forest Avenue, told the panel that he and his wife own four vehicles and a boat. He said people moving into the condo building likely would need multiple parking spaces.
“Even in the best of times [Forest Avenue] becomes effectively a one-way street,” Becker said.
Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral said a clause in the condo association covenant must say that residents can’t depend on the availability of on-street parking.
Developers proposed 23 parking spots, but code requires two spaces for each condo, or 36 for 18 units. Even though a majority of zoning commissioners (three) recommended approval to allow 23 parking slots, the motion failed. Four votes were necessary for it to pass, zoning board Attorney Melissa Miroballi said.
Commissioners Bernard Hletko and Charles Olson voted “no” to the parking variation. Zoning Board of Appeals members Michelle Wood and Julian Ligeikis were absent. Voting in favor of the variation were zoning board Chair Matthew Sinde, Margaret Blasage and Leanne Digan.
Providing more parking spaces would be difficult because the property sits partially in a flood plain on the Salt Creek, architect Errol Jay Kirsch said.
Up to 10 more parking spaces could be added if one-car garages were doubled in size, replacing first-level dens, he said. But the decision on whether to build two-car garages would be the homeowners’, Kirsch said. Each unit will have three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, he said.
The biggest design problem is building near a flood plain and satisfying tough federal standards, Kirsch added.
Flood plain rules force the developer to put the condo structure closer to the street and above so-called 100-year flood limits?”an estimate of the highest point that flood waters would reach in a century.
Any intrusion in the flood plain, including a parking lot, must be compensated with an equal amount of earth removed from the area. Kirsch said it would be impossible to dig a hole deep enough to compensate for a parking lot extended on the flood plain.
The Zoning Board of Appeals agreed with the developer’s request to build a three-story structure on a site zoned for a 2.5-story building. Though it will look like 2.5 stories, the building is considered three stories, since the top floor walls, or knee walls, will rise 6 feet instead of the required 4.5 feet by code. Sbiral said a floor with a 6-foot high knee is technically a third story.
Still, Kirsch said the building will be less than 35 feet high, the maximum height allowed for a 2.5-story structure.
“If I could expand the building, I could solve the problem,” he said. “However, I do not have that luxury.”
The Committee of the Whole is scheduled to consider the recommendation July 10, and village trustees may vote on the matter at its board meeting on July 24.