Brookfield trustees on Feb. 22 denied a request by a LaGrange-based home developer to allow him to move a driveway for a proposed new residence at 4302 Maple Ave. closer to the intersection of Maple and Shields avenues.
In voting 5 to 1 against the request, trustees sided with the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission, whose members unanimously felt placing the driveway within 40 feet of the intersection was dangerous and out of character with the neighborhood.
Trustee Brian Conroy, who cast the only vote in favor of the request, agreed with the developer that the south end of Brookfield already contained several examples of similar driveway placement. He also disagreed that the placement of the driveway closer to Maple and Shields was especially unsafe.
“In Brookfield there are a lot more precarious situations than [4302 Maple],” said Conroy. “I think this goes well.”
Two weeks earlier, Mike Vukanic, an attorney representing IMX Group LLC, the developer, argued that the Planning and Zoning Commission had got their facts wrong when it came to declaring the site plan out of character with that part of Brookfield. He also alleged that the commission didn’t give him a “fair shake” by refusing to let him rebut commissioners’ statements about the plan.
He also argued that the development company’s plan should not be subjected to a recently amended section of the zoning code making curb cuts for driveways a special use requiring a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission.
IMX has developed three other homes near the Maple/Shields location. In all of those, the company was able to get permission from the village to either alter or create new curb cuts for driveways.
At 4302 Maple Ave., which sits on the intersection’s southwest corner, there is an existing curb cut adjacent to the alley which used to go to a rear detached garage. The home and garage that previously stood on the site have been demolished and IMX intended to re-site the residence so that it faced Shields Avenue instead of Maple Avenue.
In order to allow for a large open backyard, IMX proposed moving the garage away from the alley, attaching it to the east side of the home and moving the driveway closer to the Maple/Shields intersection.
During their deliberations, trustees who voted to deny the request said they believed the property could still be developed leaving the curb cut where it is, at the rear of the parcel.
“I do feel that it’s a danger to put it nearer to the busy intersection at Shields and Maple,” said Trustee Katie Kaluzny, who also said she trusted the judgment of zoning commissioners. “Looking at this, I do think the property can be developed with the curb cut as it is or with the alley access.”
Vukanic did not speak during the village board’s deliberation on Feb. 22 and immediately walked out of the council chambers after the trustees’ vote. Attempts by the Landmark to reach him and his son, who is the lead project manager for the building, were unsuccessful.
Michael Schwarz, the director of community and economic development for the village, said late last week he had not heard from Vukanic about discussing alternatives in the wake of the denial.