Brookfield village trustees opted to brush off concerns of the village’s Planning and Zoning Commission on May 27 to approve the final development plan for a nine-unit apartment building at 8934 Fairview Ave.
Without a word of comment, trustees voted 6-0 to green-light the plan, which had failed to gain a positive recommendation from the Planning and Zoning commissioners, who were deadlocked at 3-3 over issues related to design, construction materials and the placement of the building on the lot.
“I was a little worried,” said developer Michael Gatto, who had no firm idea of what board members thought going into Tuesday night’s vote, “but I really think this is a step in the right direction in Brookfield for their housing stock.”
Gatto, vice president of RMG Realty Group, purchased the vacant lot from First National Bank of Brookfield in December 2013. The final plan approved by the village board comprises a three-story, nine-unit, brick apartment building. Six of the apartments are two-bedroom units; three are one-bedroom units.
The building will be set back from the front lot line by about 41 feet to accommodate a parking area in front of the building. There will also be a smaller parking area behind the building. Both parking lots will be constructed of permeable pavers to control storm runoff. The front parking area will be screened by landscape elements, according to the plans.
Gatto indicated the project would break ground later this summer, and he wants to get the foundation poured by the fall so crews can work throughout the winter with no delays. He hopes the building will be ready for occupancy by spring 2015.
The development will be marketed to upscale young professionals who are looking for a convenient downtown commute, he said.
One of those professionals will be Gatto himself.
“I’m going to move into the apartment building,” said Gatto, who added he’s also moved his real estate office into the Failla Realty building on Broadway Avenue in Brookfield.
“I believe in this town, so it’s easy for me to jump all the way in,” he said.
Gatto is looking to purchase other properties in Brookfield for development, but declined to identify them at this time.
Let’s just say I’m actively engaged in the marketplace,” he said.
While Gatto had “a gut feeling” the trustees would eventually approve the plan, no one knew exactly how they were going to vote despite two separate opportunities to address issues brought up by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
No trustees offered any opinions on the subject either on Tuesday or at the committee of the whole meeting on May 12, where the proposal was on the agenda for discussion. Approval required four of six trustees to vote for the plan, since the Planning and Zoning Commission did not issue a positive recommendation.
Trustee C.P. Hall, in a telephone interview Wednesday, said he didn’t object to the plan’s solution for parking or to the design of the building.
“When I looked at the drawings, I thought they were rather presentable,” said Hall. “I think it’s going to be an improvement over there.”
Michele Ryan, another trustee, said she believed the building would also benefit that area.
“As I looked at it, I thought it was clearly a high-end residential property,” Ryan said. “I thought it was thoughtfully designed and planned for a specific market. I find this will add to our housing stock and community in very positive ways, and it’s a good location for it.”
Trustee Brian Oberhauser also disagreed with a concern some planning commissioners expressed that the building design wasn’t of high enough quality.
“I don’t see how this is a poor quality of design for Brookfield,” said Oberhauser. “They were very conscious of our [master] plan and how it fit in.”
Michael Garvey, the village board’s liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission, also said he welcomed the new development.
“Looking at how it fits into our [master] plan, I think it’s a very good development,” said Garvey. “I was very happy to see this come forward.”