Well, that was kind of pointless.
The village of Brookfield just settled a lawsuit it initiated last summer against Steven Campbell, longtime nemesis and owner of the parcel of land at the northwest corner of Ogden and Custer avenues (among many others).
Campbell bought the land — which also happens to house the village of Brookfield’s “welcome sign” — in May 2013. At the closing, he found out the village had never recorded the easement that allowed the sign to be there. That oversight was the village’s fault alone.
So Campbell figured he’d use the mistake as leverage. He also owns a house on one of the corners of Washington and Prairie. A month before he bought the Ogden Avenue parcel, that property and many others nearby were underwater for about a week.
The village had made noises about installing a water pumping station near the intersection to avoid the kind of storm sewer backups that caused much of the flooding in the Washington-Prairie area, but Campbell wanted to make sure the village was going to follow through.
He made it clear that the village had no easement on Ogden Avenue for its sign, and he didn’t want village employees on his property to maintain the sign. But the sign could stay. If the pump station moved ahead, they could talk about a new easement agreement.
The village sued him, claiming that the easement agreement was in force, recorded or not.
A year later, the village walked away from the battle with its tail between its legs. Now they not only had no easement, they also will have no sign on the corner. The settlement agreement states the village has 60 days to remove the sign.
Campbell says he’s fine with a sign being there and will apply for a permit for a new one. We emailed the village manager regarding the village’s reception to such a request but didn’t get a response.
The moral of this story is that the village can’t be sloppy and then expect people (especially people like Campbell, who’s done battle with the village before) to simply knuckle under.
Screwing up an easement agreement and then doubling down when called on it was a waste of time and resources.