Building projects at mercy of Brookfield trustees

Verdict for Blanchan Ave. home, Forest Ave. condos on July 24

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By BOB UPHUES

Two construction projects up for a vote by Brookfield trustees look to be in trouble after board members discussed both developments at their Committee of the Whole meeting on July 10. Trustees on July 24 are expected to pass judgment on the construction of a single-family home at 3815 Blanchan Ave. and on an 18-unit, townhome-style condo development in the 3600 block of Forest Avenue.

But neither looks to be in good shape after no board members expressed any public support for the two projects. Trustee Catherine Colgrass Edwards, the board's liaison to the Zoning Board of Appeals, cited the village's zoning code at length in questioning whether the board should even vote on granting variances that would allow a single-family house to be built on a 30-foot lot at 3815 Blanchan Ave.

"Based on this criteria, I don't believe the petitioner has proven his case," Edwards said.

Previously, the village board had remanded the 3815 Blanchan Ave. project back to the zoning board, which had recommended denying the variances needed to construct the home. The Brookfield code states that single-family homes cannot be built on lots less than 50 feet wide.

Steven Campbell, acting as the agent for the property owner, Bronislaw Lanowski, argued that the 30-foot lot was a lot of record prior to the adoption of Brookfield's original zoning code in 1924 and, therefore, was a legal non-conforming lot. Subsequently, however, village officials uncovered records that showed the lot at some time after 1924 had been owned jointly with other contiguous property.

After learning that information, Campbell dropped any further appeal to the zoning board, but insisted that Brookfield "is better served with infill projects than 30-foot lawns."

Campbell also stated that neighbors contesting the new home had the opportunity to purchase the property in 1971 and have the opportunity to do so now.

In addition to the Blanchan Avenue project, the fate of an 18-unit development at 3627-31 Forest Ave. is also in doubt after two trustees noted their opposition to the parking plan for the project.

Architect Errol Kirsch, appearing on behalf of the property owners, Bass Builders, acknowledged that parking on Forest Avenue, particularly on Sundays, is a difficult proposition.

"The combination of Sunday morning church traffic, the width of the street, and residents parking there do create more than capacity on that street," Kirsch said. "That's not something this project can address. It's our obligation not to increase the problem."

Kirsch said that market research he's done has indicated that the target buyers for the new condo units?"young professional couples and empty-nesters?"would not increase the parking problem in the area. Each of the 18 three-bedroom units would have one enclosed parking space. Five other outside parking spaces would also be available to condo owners.

However, those 23 spaces fall far short of the 36 required by Brookfield's code of two parking spaces per unit. The Zoning Board of Appeals has recommended denying the variation for fewer parking spaces. As a result, in order to overturn the zoning board's recommendation, four out of six village trustees would have to vote in favor of granting the variance.

At the July 10 Committee of the Whole meeting, two trustees, Alan Dorobiala and Linda Stevanovich, expressed serious concerns about the parking plan.

"When people are parked on both side of the street, if an emergency vehicle came down, I'd have to pull into a driveway or back out of the street," Dorobiala said. "And when they have people come and visit, where are they going to park?"

Stevanovich questioned Kirsch's assumption that the buyers of the condo units would have fewer than two cars, noting that three-bedroom units "are sizable."

"Parking is already tight on Forest Avenue due to the six-story building [at the corner of Brookfield and Forest avenues]," Stevanovich said. "Their overflow parking is on Forest Avenue. I'm sorry, the parking is a real issue with me."

Edwards said she understood the concerns about parking, adding that some of the congestion could be mitigated by residents parking their cars in their garages.

"That's why we have so much congestion on the streets today," Edwards said.

Edwards added that if Brookfield adopted a no parking policy on village streets during overnight hours, "I think you'd find the streets have a lot of room."

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