Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.
Last week BrookfieldNOW reported Major projects falter in down economy, Percheron Square nearing deadline for moving ahead. While I don't wish financial troubles on anyone, I can't say I am sorry to hear these two projects fell through.
I was squarely against both Fountain Brook Crossing and Percheron Square because they both exceeded the original zoning density, Fountain Brook by far was the worst offender.
But as I drove down Greenfield last week, I couldn't help but notice another location where the project fell through. I saw a for sale sign (in photo) on the old Sentry grocery store site at Greenfield Ave. and Calhoun Rd. That original grocery store, as I understand it, was prevented from expanding by the city. Then in late 2003, early 2004(?) a new strip mall was proposed that was in the newer Modified Suburban Overlay configuration, with parking right up to the residences back yards to the north. That was defeated in a rare city hall fight that resolved in favor of the neighborhood. Then there was a proposal for an acceptable strip mall that had the standard parking in the front- shops in the back design. Neighbors liked it but the city balked because it wasn't fancy enough. At last another strip mall was proposed, was it called Deer Creek Commons or something like that? That was favored by the neighborhood and the city. Alas, it is not to be. The economy did it in?
Many of us in Brookfield believe our community is getting overcrowded and over-saturated with unnecessary development projects. Since we cannot maintain occupancy on what we already have, and traffic on busy streets such as Bluemound and Capital Drive and even Greenfield is already problematic, why increase the density each time a new proposal comes our way? (Increased density increases profit for the developer.)
This photo is of the former Flanners on Bluemound. It has been empty for several years now.
In Brookfield these days, we don't have much new development, just new locations. The old ones seem to remain vacant. To name a few, Park Bank moved from Bluemound and Pilgrim to Greenfield and Vista View. Ethan Allen Furniture moved from Capital Drive. Last time I looked, the Capital location was vacant.
I believe Brookfield needs more diversity in their development projects. The old Quebecor site was quickly pushed into mixed use from manufacturing. The city may have had their reasons, but how many mixed use condo, apartment, and retail locations do we need? How many can we support?
As I fequently quip, how many nail salons does a city need? (Nail salons being my poster child of unnecessary retail, since I could live my entire life without setting foot in one.)
Fountain Brook, last I heard, was still on the table with the original, less dense zoning. It was to have been a medical and dental complex. That would be a good example of good development; something that even in a down economy that would attract users. I hope it is successful.
Development and density was a key issue in the 2006 mayoral election. It will be interesting to see who will run for mayor in 2010 and what their development philosophy is.
Past Posts: January 12, 2008 Fountain Brook Crossing: Big building, big zoning, big precedent, big mistake
January 13, 2008 Fountain Brook Crossing: 2 unbelievably big buildings
June 8, 2008 VK's Percheron Square A.K.A. Ruby Farm proposal heads to plan commission Monday, 7pm
June 9, 2008 No Surprise, Percheron Square PDD passed first hurdle, or should I say jump
July 28, 2008 Testing the Waters: VK, McCain, and Elmbrook Swim Club