Almost exactly one year ago, residents near the old Buresh's Lobster House restaurant in Brookfield were steamed. The village's Plan Commission voted overwhelmingly to allow the land to be rezoned, paving the way for a development of 18 townhomes and a 48-unit condominium building.
Today, neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief. Twelve months after that initial defeat, the residents can claim victory after coming to terms on a development both they and developers can agree on.
Although it still must meet the approval of both the Zoning Board of Appeals and the village board, the plan calls for four single-family homes on the north half of the site and 18 townhomes on the south half.
The plan closely mirrors the vision for the site outlined in the newly adopted 2020 Master Plan for Brookfield, retaining the current zoning designation for the site.
"Basically it's because of people sticking together and being informed," said Dan Cook, who hosted regular community meetings and kept the dialog going with architect John Schiess despite their differences.
"The 2020 Plan gave us a little more ammunition," Cook added. "If the 2020 Plan had showed multifamily [on the entire site] we would have been buried."
Schiess tipped his hat to Cook.
"The credit goes to Dan himself," Schiess said. "He hosted not one but four meetings at his house to try to figure this thing out."
The compromise plan calls for six 3-story townhomes facing 31st Street, with four each facing Vernon and Prairie avenues. Four more townhomes face north toward the single family homes, which will be separated from the townhomes by a sidewalk and a 10-foot grass side yard.
A driveway just north of 31st Street gives access to the complex. As in previous versions of the plan, each townhome has its own two-car garage. But unlike other versions, the complex also includes four exterior visitor parking spaces.
The single-family homes will most likely be 2.5-story homes, 30 feet in height. The three-bedroom homes will include detached two-car garages at the rear of the property. Schiess said the homes will likely sell in the $400,000 range.
The plan calls for the garages of the single-family homes to be accessed from the existing east-west alley north of the property. A north-south alley will run from middle of the existing alley to the garages.
An earlier version of the townhome/single-family home plan called for the existing alley to be removed, but that idea was eventually scrapped.
"We had a fair amount of concern from the neighbors to the north that if we take out the alley, we would be disrupting the use of their property," Schiess said. "So we decided to back off on that."
The village board Monday night referred the matter back to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which is expected to revisit the new plan at its April 7 meeting. The village board will have the final say on any development subsequent to that meeting.