For all of the divisiveness Brookfield has experienced as the village draws closer to the April election, the village board quietly made one of the village’s most important bi-partisan decisions–on Valentine’s Day, appropriately enough.
With a 6-0 vote, trustees?”both VIP and PEP?”adopted the 2020 Master Plan, an ambitious, serious blueprint for the future development of Brookfield.
Although the master plan took 18 months to develop and cost thousands of dollars, it’s just the first step. The inclusion of the year 2020 in its title is significant. Unlike the Brookfield 2000 plan, which was buried after it was completed, this plan seeks to define what Brookfield can be 15 years from now.
Another thing that makes this master plan different from others the village has less enthusiastically embraced is that it also includes strategies for implementation.
And that is now the challenge, not only for the present village board, but the boards that will follow in coming years.
At the outset, village officials appear to be taking the new master plan to heart. In recent discussions of new development opportunities in the village?”at the former Buresh site, in the Grand Boulevard commercial district and on DuBois Boulevard?”both the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals have seriously considered the implications of proposed development with respect to the master plan.
Although interpretation of that plan may sometimes differ, and no one expects the village to slavishly adhere to every aspect of the plan, the document itself is being taken seriously, and that’s good news.
But to move the master plan to its next phase, the village must begin the task of rewriting its zoning code to fit what the village has adopted in the plan. Currently, the village’s zoning code is often at odds with the new plan, and the two must be reconciled if there is to be consistent application throughout key areas of the village.
This is such an important part of the equation that rewriting the zoning code should probably be led by an independent consultant, and we believe the village ought to find a way to include paying for such an effort in its next fiscal year, which begins in May.
We would also urge regular monthly meetings of the Plan Commission to see this effort through to completion and to monitor the application of the master plan in the future.
Brookfield is ripe for development and redevelopment. Its location on a main transit line and its proximity to Chicago cannot help but ensure the interest of developers in coming years. It will continue to be so regardless of which political party is in power.
Politicians will come and go, but the 2020 Master Plan should remain the bedrock for redevelopment in the village. Plenty of hard work has been done, but much more remains ahead.
Brookfield’s leaders now have an important tool to make sure the village keeps moving forward.