Town hall meeting set to discuss Hollywood's future

Focus on Brookfield Ave., commercial area

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By BOB UPHUES

When a developer floated constructing a 60-unit condominium building on Brookfield Avenue in the Hollywood section of Brookfield last year, they were met with a tidal wave of opposition from neighborhood residents.

While that development ultimately failed to materialize, officials know that it won't be the last proposal for the area. As a result, the village's director of planning and zoning, Keith Sbiral, will host a special town hall meeting on July 12 at 7 p.m. at Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave., to specifically discuss the future of Hollywood in relation to the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan.

"If the community doesn't want density there, if that's really the case, then the community plan should reflect what the community thinks," Sbiral said.

In the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan, which was approved by the village board in 2005, the area along Brookfield Avenue near the Zoo Stop train station was one of several sub-areas identified for potential rezoning and redevelopment. The master plan suggested that new residential and commercial buildings along Brookfield Avenue between McCormick and Woodside avenues would be appropriate. In fact, the site of the proposed 60-unit condo building was one such site identified for multifamily residential redevelopment.

But residents of the neighborhood were clearly uncomfortable with any sort of high-density residential development in the neighborhood, and it was that reaction that ultimately doomed the 60-unit condo building.

What Sbiral would like to do, he said, is to come to a consensus and make that vision of the Hollywood neighborhood part of the village's development plan. The idea, is to head off developments like the 60-unit condo project, before they get started.

"I'd like to have this meeting before [developers] have a plan," Sbiral said.

Sbiral also wants to get resident input on what the future of Hollywood's small commercial strip between Woodside Avenue and Hollywood Avenue should look like. Currently, the zoning district allows very few uses and those uses are not necessarily appropriate.

For example, the zoning district allows gas stations but doesn't allow ground-floor architectural offices. Sbiral said he's been approached by artists and designers about setting up shop in the commercial buildings there.

"But it's such a hassle to go through the zoning process, they didn't want to bother," Sbiral said. "I'd like to look at the uses in the [zoning] ordinance and tailor-make it."

While there is no residential development in the works in the Hollywood neighborhood at present, there is development being considered on the northwest edge of the neighborhood at Washington and Arden avenues. The Brookfield Public Library is moving forward with plans to buy property at that corner in order to construct a new building there. The project is likely years from coming to fruition, however, and Sbiral said he'd like the July 12 meeting to focus more on Brookfield Avenue.

"I hope it doesn't dominate the conversation," Sbiral said of the library. "I want the focus to be the commercial area and how residents want to see that."

Sbiral said that a letter has been mailed to all Hollywood residents inviting them to the July 12 meeting. He added, however, that all Brookfield residents are welcome to attend.

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