Curb cuts to the nine residential driveways slated for removal this year as part of Brookfield’s road improvement project will be reinstated, after residents complained that the village’s policy was vague and that notice of removal was last-minute.
In recent years, the village has sought to remove curb cuts connected to “driveways to nowhere,” so called because the driveways don’t lead to a garage or to an appropriately paved parking pad behind the front setback of the home.
Many of the driveways to nowhere were created when detached garages were demolished or attached garages were converted into living spaces. The intent of the policy was to limit the number of cars parking in residential front yards, particularly where vehicles blocked sidewalks.
However, of the curb cuts identified for removal in 2018, village staff has now concluded most would be considered as leading to driveways in side yards.
“None of the pending driveways will be altered or changed,” said interim management consultant Jay Dalicandro.
Dalicandro on April 23 recommended to members of the village board that the curb cuts to side driveways be reinstated after determining that almost all of them were in side yards and didn’t fit the description of going “nowhere.”
“It’s still a work in progress, in that we’ll need a definitive policy going forward,” said Dalicandro of village staff’s effort to come up with a policy that can be applied as universally as possible without creating an undue burden on homeowners.
“It’s a change in policy that the board feels strongly about, and they don’t want to hurt the residents,” Dalicandro said.
If that new policy requires an amendment to the village’s zoning code, the matter could end up on the desk of the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission, which would have to hold a public hearing and welcome public input.
“Once we get a policy in place, we can look at how it affects zoning,” Dalicandro said.
Dalicandro on April 23 suggested placing conditions on some of this year’s cases, including widening driveways that didn’t conform to standards. Staff recommended giving homeowners up to a year to make such improvements and put up a $1,000 bond to ensure completion.
However, village trustees were leery of forcing additional expense, increasing impermeable surfaces and requiring a bond.
Trustees and Dalicandro agreed to do work now to identify possible problem driveways that would be affected by road improvement projects in future years and work with those homeowners on solutions with plenty of notice.
“Now is the best time to plan on how to address those,” Dalicandro said.
Tom Galbraith, whose curb cut to the driveway of his McCormick Avenue home was one of the ones initially targeted for removal, said he agreed with the village’s decision to take a second look.
“I’m satisfied with the outcome since they said they will leave the driveways alone and amend the ordinance or re-write the ordinance,” Galbraith said. “If they follow through on this, I will be satisfied with the outcome.”