After a real estate developer proposed obtaining credit for 6.5 vehicle parking spaces by including 39 onsite bicycle parking spaces in his design for a proposed apartment building, Brookfield officials are looking to rewrite a section of the zoning code to limit the use of such credits.
At the village board’s committee of the whole meeting on June 14, trustees agreed to have the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission work on recommending a revision to the code, which presently allows an unlimited number of vehicle parking spaces to be “purchased” by substituting onsite bicycle parking.
According to the zoning code, developers can receive credit for one motor vehicle parking space by including six long-term bicycle spaces. As part of his application seeking several zoning variations to building a 14-unit apartment building at 8845 Burlington Ave., developer Jason Huang indicated he would use 39 long-term bike parking spaces to reduce the required number of vehicle parking spaces from 17.5 to 11.
Because the code, as it’s written now, allows such a swap, it wasn’t necessary for Huang to ask for a zoning variance to reduce the required vehicle parking.
And while, planning and zoning commissioners during a public hearing last month emphasized the parking question was out of their hands, they did recommend the village board consider amending the code.
“I don’t think it was ever the intent of the Plan Commission or probably the [village] board to have this without a cap,” said Trustee Jennifer Hendricks, who is the village board’s liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission and who until her election to the village board in April was a veteran member of that commission.
“Essentially, the developers are reading this and seeing a free pass … and they do that without a variance.”
Hendricks noted that in the same section of the zoning code, it lists a cap on credits for motorcycle and scooter parking.
“It’s great that we have the credit, but it does need to be capped,” Hendricks said.
Trustees appeared to be unanimous in their support for having the Planning and Zoning Commission look at recommending a revision to the code regarding motor vehicle parking credits via bicycle parking.
Village Planner Kendra Kuehlem said she would research what other nearby communities might have in their codes with respect to parking credits to see how Brookfield might want to amend its code, whether that’s limiting credits as a percentage of a development’s size or setting a hard cap.
Village President Michael Garvey said he remembered a discussion around parking credits during the village’s zoning modernization effort in 2017 when the Station Area Zoning Code was created to encourage certain types of redevelopment near Brookfield three Metra stations.
“I remember this language was the language used in other municipalities, but I don’t know that it’s having the desired intent the way it’s being applied,” Garvey said.
Kuehlem said the Planning and Zoning Commission was likely to consider the zoning code amendment at its meeting July 22 at 7 p.m. at the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave.