Stop work notice stalls RB track and field construction

Prior to the stop notice, work continued on the field upgrades.

Niko Radicanin

Prior to the stop notice, work continued on the field upgrades.

McKenna Powers and Morgan DiVittorio

As of Tuesday, October 27, Riverside Brookfield High School stopped the track and field facilities construction days before the project was supposed to be finished.

RBHS was finishing up their last bits of construction, the track and field facilities, when they received a stop work notice from the Village of Brookfield. The Village claimed that RB had not gained access to the “special-use permit,” and therefore can no longer continue building the track and field facilities until one is obtained.

The track and field facilities, the long jump, triple jump, and the pole vault runway were on their way to being built behind where the original tennis courts used to be, which is in the direct view of the Hollywood School.

Kevin Skinkis, superintendent of RB, states that RB did have all the required known zoning permits prior to construction and that the Village of Brookfield did not agree that all permits were present.

“These two track events were on the original plan, were in all the plans that went to the zoning commision, went through all those hearings, were part of the plans,” Skinkis said.

Prior to the stop use notice, RB applied for a special use permit from the Village of Brookfield to create a parking lot, as well as a new set of tennis courts.

“The application was for a special use permit to create the parking lot, and for two variances. One was for the setback on the fence of the projected the new tennis courts and on the height of the fence of the new tennis courts,” Skinkis said.

Allegedly, the Village of Brookfield has not been communicating well with RB. The Village believed that these track and field facilities required a special use permit. Brookfield was convinced RB had not gotten these three track and field facilities approved. RB’s attorney emailed the Village to discuss the background of what parts of the zoning code RB is violating.

“We did not hear anything back from the Village for over two weeks and then yesterday [October 27] at 1:30 they delivered a stop work order for that part of the facility,” Skinkis said.

With all these complications, RB is using attorneys to try to resolve this conflict out of court. As for now, the longer this dispute continues, the more money this costs the school, which ultimately impacts the community.

“This burden has fallen on the taxpayers,” Skinkis said.

Apparently, these two permits have been in the works for over a year.

“We applied for all the special use zoning permit for the parking lot and variance back in December of 2014. Our first meeting was in January of 2015, and then we had another one in March of 2015,” Skinkis said.

The tug and pull nature of these meetings has been confusing for the district.

“At the March meeting the zoning commission of Brookfield unanimously supported the entire project. And then at the April meeting of the Village Board, they unanimously turned down the project,” Skinkis said.

As for the relationship between the Village of Brookfield and RB, this conflict has fostered tension between these two parties.

“Up until this point, the school district has had a very good relationship with the Village. I feel that we still do work with many people in the Village very closely and have a good relationship with [them]. I think it’s unfortunate that it has come to this,” Skinkis said.

Although tensions have been high lately, RB has a long history with the Village of Brookfield and Skinkis has high hopes that the district and the Village will soon come to an agreement

“Eventually, I’m hoping both parties can try to reach some type of agreement that would benefit both the Village and the school district,” Skinkis said.

RB Clarion reached out to Brookfield’s Village Manager, Keith Sbiral, for a comment, but did not receive a response.