The Brookfield Village Board on Sept. 12 unanimously approved a revised final planned development application, allowing the construction of a nine-unit apartment building on vacant land at 8934 Fairview Ave.
Monday’s vote caps a process that started more than two years ago and gives the developers, Michael Gatto of Oak Brook-based Grossdale Properties and Scott Sanders of Brookfield-based BrightLeaf Homes, the go-ahead to revise the plans originally submitted to the village by Gatto in early 2014 and approved by the village board that May.
Sanders said the intent is to get final plans to the village next week and have building permits in hand so that construction can begin Nov. 1.
However, the developers have indicated they will re-approach the village board about waiving some fees after village trustees on Monday rejected a resolution that would have waived building permit fees amounting to between $18,000 and $22,000.
When the project was first approved in 2014, Gatto had paid for building permits and other costs related to construction. But, the project stalled when Gatto couldn’t secure financing for construction.
Gatto and Sanders in August argued that the village had received payment in 2014 for services the developer never used. Waiving the fees now, they said, would simply reflect that the village already had some of those fees in hand.
But trustees didn’t buy that argument, saying the village had incurred additional costs since 2014 and that it wasn’t the village’s fault the project didn’t move ahead in 2014.
Sanders said they were not seeking to recoup the entire amount paid in 2014, but were hoping to be credited for paying bonds, water tap fees and inspection fees that were never used by the developer or provided by the village.
The plan approved by the village board differs from the original proposal in the building’s placement on the lot, construction materials and interior layout.
The apartment building will be placed closer to the Fairview Avenue property line, relegating parking to the rear of the property. The original plan called for parking lots in both the front and rear of the building.
Energy-efficient construction is also being emphasized, using cement board siding and including a roof that can support the installation of solar panels. Sanders’ firm specializes in building energy-efficient single-family homes. It’s his first foray into multi-family building construction.
Inside, the plan now calls for three units each of one, two and three bedrooms instead of six two-bedroom and three one-bedroom units.
All of those changes were looked upon favorably by the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission, which enthusiastically recommended the new plan after failing to recommend the original.
While parking in the rear of the building will make the alley the only entrance to the parking lot, village trustees in voting to approve the plan did not address improvement of the rough gravel east-west alley.
The Planning and Zoning Commission had discussed that issue before recommending the project in July, but ultimately suggested the developers work with village officials to solve that problem.
Gatto told the planning commissioners that paving the alley would likely be a deal-breaker for his plan due to the cost, which was estimated at between $40,000 and $45,000.
When they discussed the subject at their committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 22, village trustees expressed reluctance for tying approval of the building with improvement of the alley. It’s unclear how, or when the alley will be improved in the future.