An Oakbrook Terrace-based developer who wants to build a three-story, nine-unit apartment building at 8934 Fairview Ave. in Brookfield has run into a speed bump.
On April 24, the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission failed to come to a consensus on the development, with commissioners voting 3-3 on a motion to approve the final plan.
As a result, RMG Realty Group will need four of six village trustees to vote in favor of the plan in order for it to move forward. The board is slated to discuss the final planned development at its May 12 meeting, with a possible vote coming May 26.
“I don’t foresee a huge issue here,” said Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral, who is also the village’s director of building and planning. “The major points of this development are already decided.”
Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Charles Grund voted in favor of the plan, along with commissioners Todd Svoboda and Mark Weber. Casting votes against the plan were commissioners Karen Miller, Jennifer Hendricks and Patrick Benjamin. Commissioner Christopher Straka was absent from the April 24 hearing.
“Would I have liked to see something different? Absolutely,” said Grund, an architect, in a phone interview last week. “But I think it was a creative use of that property.”
None of the commissioners had a problem with an apartment building being constructed on the property, which sits in a transitional area within the downtown commercial zoning district. Nor did anyone appear to have a problem with the density of the development.
Rather, those voting against the development expressed dissatisfaction with the placement of the building on the lot, the location of parking for the development and architectural details of the plan.
“It’s important when we look at streets that run parallel to the Metra line to realize that’s the impression of Brookfield people will get,” said Miller, who is the executive planner for Kane County. “That apartment building will be front and center, and it’s not consistent with guidelines in our master plan.”
Miller was critical of building materials presented to the commission and of a proposed eight-space parking lot in front of the building.
“The goal of the developer is to attract higher-income tenants,” said Miller. “I don’t think the materials add to the character of the neighborhood or the building.”
Benjamin, who works as the community development director for the village of LaGrange, also criticized the development for not aiming a bit higher from a design standpoint.
“I just don’t think it hit that bar,” Benjamin said. “The building could be adjusted to better fit the area.”
Both Miller and Benjamin say they would prefer the building to be moved forward on the lot to eliminate the front-yard parking. The minimum front-yard setback for the area is 15 feet. But the building as designed would be set back about 41 feet.
“Parking in front, in a highly visible area, is not what you want to see,” Benjamin said.
Michael Gatto, vice president of RMG Realty, argued that doing so would reduce the number of available onsite parking spaces from 14 to nine and increase the amount of time per day that the apartment building would block sunlight to the property immediately west.
One aspect of the development that all of the commissioners appeared to like was the plan to cover the parking areas with permeable pavers instead of asphalt.
Grund acknowledged that the design of the building wasn’t particularly innovative but said he felt the developer met the village’s standards in this case.
“Some say let’s set the bar higher, but I thought the bar was OK here,” Grund said. “I’m more pro-development, and I tend to look at the architecture more leniently than others. I didn’t think it’s that off-base.”
This story has been changed to correct information regarding the village’s code, which requires a supermajority of trustees to approve any development plan that is not recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.