Developer Michael Gatto, who has completed two apartment building projects in downtown Brookfield and has a third development under way in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard, looks to be close to winning village approval for a fourth rental property development at 3727 Sunnyside Ave. after a unanimous recommendation from the Brookfield Planning Zoning Commission to award it two zoning variations.
During a public hearing on Jan. 28 that lasted about 20 minutes, planning and zoning commissioners praised the site plan for Gatto’s proposed nine-unit, three story building and agreed that the development’s somewhat unusual parking arrangement was warranted because of site limitations.
The village board has final say on granting the zoning variations, and that body will get its first look at the Planning and Zoning commission’s recommendation at the Feb. 22 committee of the whole meeting.
Should trustees agree with the commission, they could vote to approve the variations at the March 8 village board meeting.
Gatto said that if all goes well, the new building could be completed within 10 to 12 months, depending on any building supply issues, something builders have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Building supply delays have slowed construction on Gatto’s mixed-use development at 3704 Grand Blvd. Gatto said he has already hired an architect to design the Sunnyside apartment building.
“There should be no lag other than the new lags in development that have become normal due to COVID,” Gatto said.
Commissioners recommended granting the development a variance from the zoning code requiring 80 percent “build-to-zone” coverage on the primary frontage, which is Sunnyside Avenue.
The build-to-zone coverage in this instance – just 53 percent is significantly less than the code requirement – and was preferred, commissioners concluded, to a design that would have resulted in more of a street wall effect.
As proposed, the building is T-shaped, with the top of the T facing north in order to fit better on the long, narrow property. As a result, the building’s Sunnyside façade steps back and is set further back from the front lot line.
“I think in this case it was a sensitive use to drop [the façade] off of Sunnyside to create greenspace in a welcoming gesture,” said Charles Grund, chairman of the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission.
The commission also recommended approving a variance for locating two of the development’s 10 onsite parking spaces in the south side yard. The remainder of the parking spaces are located at the rear of the property, but an alley runs adjacent to the south lot line and the irregular shape of the lot meant there was little choice but to provide access to those spaces from that side alley.
Gatto also is reducing the amount of impervious surface for the development by proposing semi-pervious pavement for the rear parking lot. In any case, the development will have to meet the village’s storm water requirements, which are stricter than the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Great Chicago.
The developer indicated during the hearing that the development’s drains would connect to an existing storm sewer, diverting runoff away from neighboring properties. Gatto’s apartment building at 8934 Fairview Ave., which sits directly across the alley from the new development site, also ties into that storm sewer.
Gatto said the commission’s openness to his plan reflected their understanding of the recently adopted comprehensive plan and Station Area Zoning Code.
“It’s an easy situation when you have an educated group going through your project, recognizing the uniqueness of the site and applying the zoning modernization principles to it,” Gatto said.