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Brookfield panel seeks to rezone former fire station site

Change would allow development, with restrictions

Jan. 2, 2013

In an effort to attract developers, the city is planning a public hearing to rezone the land where the former Fire Station No. 3 sits.

The city-owned property at 1000 S. Moorland Road, privately owned properties at 900 S. Moorland Road, and a vacant lot directly east are currently zoned for office and limited business use, restricting the area to office and small retail development only.

The Plan Commission wants to rezone that area to "B-2" general business and modified suburban overlay, a zoning change that would allow for commercial development on the property.

Aldermen voted to move Fire Station No. 3 in 2007 to the intersection of Greenfield Avenue and Calhoun Road to shorten 911 response times in the city's west side, acquiring four homes and vacant land owned by the state Department of Transportation for its construction.

In a report to the Plan Commission written in December, Dan Ertl, director of community development, said the original hope for the property was the development a mixed use building after the area was rezoned from single-family residential to office and limited business in 2010.

"A two story building with office space on the second floor and retail on the first was viable in the marketplace," Ertl wrote.

However, Ertl said the real estate market is no longer strong enough to support that plan.

"The suburban office market has been in a poor state for some time," Ertl wrote. "New construction of office space, especially speculative space, is non-existent."

The commission hopes the rezoning will make the 78,000 square-foot block more appealing to a commercial developer.

"The likely use of the block under the proposed rezoning would be a single story retail center with parking located along Moorland Road," Ertl wrote.

To keep that plan on track, the commission would enforce several restrictions on the type of business that could be built on the property. Under the plan, taverns and bars, drive-thru restaurants and free-standing signs would not be allowed at the site.

The restrictions are meant to protect the surrounding neighborhoods from increased traffic, noise, and other impacts of commercial development in the area.

The letter did not indicate if a developer has already approached the city about acquiring the land.

The public hearing was approved at a Common Council meeting in December for a date yet to be announced.

Recommended Restrictions:

No drive-thru restaurants

No taverns, bars, theaters, dance halls or other places of amusement

No automobile repair shops, service stations, auto sales or storage garages

No free standing signs or billboards without principle building in place

Outdoor dining must face Moorland Road

Minimum lot area is 44,000 square feet

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