Wednesday night I attended the first of four public information meetings on the City of Brookfield's 2035 Comprehensive Plan. There were 4 residents and 8 city officials, including me and some consultants. This is a very important undertaking and I want to encourage all of you to participate.
To help with creating this plan, the city hired the consulting firm of Vandewalle & Associates. Consultants from that company will be available at the information meetings as well as the regular city community development staff.
There will be three more opportunities to hear the consultant's ideas and comment on the full range of options suggested.
- Thursday, September 18, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Brookfield Senior Center/Multi-Purpose Room , City Hall
- Wednesday, September 24, 2008 from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Public Safety Building Courtroom
- Thursday, September 25, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Public Safety Building Courtroom
You may also find the information on:
- the city web site: 2035 Comprehensive Plan or
- the recent city newsletter or
- even a BrookfieldNow! article.
Even if you don't attend the meetings, your comments are welcome. You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (262) 796-6695.
What is the 2035 Comprehensive Plan?
To quote from the city web site,
"A Comprehensive Plan helps guide the type, location, and appearance of growth and preservation in a community, generally over the next 20 years. It is not the same as a zoning ordinance or zoning map, which are tools often used to help implement the Comprehensive Plan."
State law changed a few years ago requiring such a plan. Brookfield had master plans before, but nothing as complete and detailed as this one.
What does it mean to participate?
The plan is to run all four meetings in the same way. There will be tables set up with photos, maps, handouts of various aspects of the plan and a staff person to discuss each topic with you. There will be a PowerPoint (slide) show describing the preliminary findings and staff to answer questions.
Before you leave, you will be asked to select options from a multiple choice list on a form. The choices generally range from "do nothing" to "start over" with a few ideas in between, along with the pros and cons of each. You can mark the form with your preference in each category. You may also include written comments.
Please list some specific points presented.
Some specific points presented that I found interesting were:
- Brookfield's population is becoming aging baby boomers and empty nesters. Many will sell their large houses but still want to stay in the city in a smaller, easy maintenance building. That implies condominiums, apartments, age in place nursing homes, etc.
- There is a clear traffic corridor that starts in Chicago (a famous world class city) passes through Milwaukee (a traditional manufacturing area) to Madison (a world class university) to Minneapolis (another major city). Guess who's right in the middle? That raises the possibility of Brookfield capturing major business headquarters or research facilities who want to tap into both the well educated local community and the convenience of a metropolitan location.
- Brookfield's current population is about 39,700. In 2008, the number of jobs in Brookfield is also about 40,000. Since many city residents work outside the city, many others must travel here, creating a daytime population of almost 100,000. The notion of Brookfield being a bedroom community is long gone, so the plans should be adjusted to accommodate reality.
There were quite a few other points of interest as well. The slide show covers them well.
Will my opinion matter?
As an example, the last time something on this scale was attempted was in 1999 when the 2020 Master Plan was created. I attended a public information meeting held at Brookfield East gym. The consultant had suggested creating a frontage road on the south side of Blue Mound Road to handle local traffic. Since it was south of Wisconsin Avenue, it was to be named "Illinois Avenue". The residents at the meeting clearly opposed it. The proposal was dropped.
The consultant has already met with several small groups of residents. If you click on the following links you will open a PDF file on the city web site with comments from that group. I include a couple of points from each that I think are interesting.
6/17/08: Brookfield Neighborhood East Small Group Meeting Summary
- Focus on maintenance of all building, parks, roads
- Concern that the Council won’t follow the Plan because it doesn’t now.
- Fire protection is a concern at the far north side.
- Need to maintain low density and rural character
- Taxes are managed well – need to continue
- Commuters cutting through the community based on regional growth—have few north south roads
- Want to be a green city—parks, paths, landscaping
- Is subsidized housing for seniors going to be accepted in the community? (some concern that demand would be regional—bringing people from outside the community).
- New/expanded senior activities center o Seniors are fighting for room in the building they have—don’t have enough room for activities that are needed (They have 2 rooms plus dining room in City Hall building.)
- Need to stop burning in City—this raises air quality and health concerns