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Thumbs up to zoning change for Grand Blvd. project

Additional variances may be sought later

October 30th, 2018 2:57 PM

RMG Realty is pitching a three-story mixed-use building in downtown Brookfield, with ground-floor commercial space facing Grand Boulevard and 11 rental units, with covered ground-level parking facing Sunnyside Avenue. | RENDERING PROVIDED

By Bob Uphues

Editor

A new mixed-use development pitched for the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard in Brookfield has cleared one hurdle, but still faces more questions – and hostility from neighboring property owners – before it wins approval from or ends up being denied by the village's board of trustees.

At a public hearing on Oct. 25, the members of the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend amending the village's Station Area Zoning map in order to consolidate the parcel identified for redevelopment into one zoning district.

"Clearly there's a demand out there," said planning and zoning Commissioner Patrick Benjamin, referencing another recent multifamily building on Fairview Avenue completed by the same developer.

That nine-unit apartment building targeted at young professionals seeking access to the train leased completely within a few months of completion.

"I think we can see that from adjacent communities and other development that's occurred that there is a market for this type of product," Benjamin added. 

Presently the V-shaped parcel straddles two zoning districts. The lot fronting Grand Boulevard is zoned SA-4a, which encourages commercial uses on the ground floor and residences above. Three lots immediately behind that parcel, which front Sunnyside Avenue, are zoned SA-5, a strictly residential district.

Both zoning districts allow buildings of up to six stories. The developer, Michael Gatto of RMG Realty, has asked for approval of a three-story building, with a commercial unit and one apartment on the ground floor. The commercial space would face Grand Boulevard, while an apartment and covered parking for nine vehicles would face Sunnyside Avenue on the ground floor.

The two floors above would house a total of 10 one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The map amendment will need to be ratified by the village board before Gatto can move forward with seeking any zoning variations that may be needed to make the project a reality.

While planning and zoning commissioners all felt the development fit with the goals of the Station Area Zoning Modernization and the new Brookfield Comprehensive Plan, residents on Sunnyside, Grant and Sheridan avenues near the proposed building were less enthusiastic.

Neighbors feared the development would make traffic and lack of on-street parking worse, would add to storm water runoff and would reduce privacy. About a dozen residents testified at the hearing to air their concerns.

"This sounds like a pretty big development that's going to be lot line to lot line, and we just have a lot of concerns about the impact on the neighborhood," said Claudia Duncan, a resident of Sheridan Avenue.

Brian White, who also lives on Sheridan Avenue, said the scale of the development was "not appropriate" for the area.

"It just doesn't make sense to allow it," White said.

For Edward Lupia, a Grant Avenue resident, the problem was density.

"I've seen developers come in like this, and in a few years you have a few thousand people built into your area," Lupia said. "The only progress I see here is for the developers."

The next meeting of the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission is on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave. It is unclear whether the mixed-use development at 3704 Grand Blvd. will be up for further discussion at that time.  

Contact:
Email: buphues@wjinc.com Twitter: @RBLandmark