When the Brookfield village board voted the 2020 Master Plan into law in February of 2004, it did so unanimously. That such a major policy document would have garnered that kind of broad approval during what was then an increasingly bitter election campaign highlights just how crucial both sides felt the master plan to be.

Trustees on both sides of the political aisle spoke about the importance of the plan and the importance of implementing it effectively. Time will tell just how successfully the village will do that, but in order to see any progress, there needed to be a first step in that direction.

Now, some 12 months after the master plan ordinance was passed by trustees, Brookfield is taking that first step toward realizing the plan.

One of the critical parts of taking that first step was resurrecting the Plan Commission, which had been relegated to holding a handful of meetings per year. Instead of a vibrant group that helped recommend policy for the village, it had become a group brought in to work on very specific issues, stripping it of most of its relevance and power.

The Plan Commission will now begin a year-long examination of the village’s zoning code, which hasn’t been comprehensively addressed for many years. This is a daunting challenge. Riverside?”although its physical layout made it even more difficult?”spent nearly two years revising its residential zoning code. The Riverside Plan Commission led that effort, but was assisted by a planning consultant along the way.

Brookfield wants to revise both its residential and commercial zoning in the next year without the help of an outside consultant. As a result, residents can expect this process to be a deliberate one.

It’s unlikely that the village will see dramatic change in residential and commercial development in the next year, but at least the groundwork for any change in coming years is being laid.

What the 2020 Master Plan makes clear?”by its own title?” is that this is a document that is meant as a policy for years to come. It is not the property of any political party but, rather, property of Brookfielders.

The previous administration authorized and passed the plan, the present administration is beginning its implementation and a future administration will see to it that it remains a vital document.

The only way Brookfield succeeds in achieving continued appropriate residential and commercial redevelopment is to agree on a road map for success. That road map is in place. Now it’s time to get in the vehicle and take it for a spin.

By the way, anyone who hasn’t seen the master plan (it’s a pretty large document) can do so on their computers. You can find it online at by clicking on the “2020 Master Plan” button on the left hand menu.