A year after the Brookfield village board adopted the 2020 Master Plan as its policy document for economic and residential development, village staff have begun a campaign to implement provisions contained in it.
At Monday night’s meeting of the board’s Committee of the Whole, Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral unveiled a plan to begin chipping away at the “action agenda” of the master planing document, which includes everything from revising village codes to encouraging appropriate development in key areas of the village.
“The master plan was the result of a 16-month process that was taking a comprehensive look at the village,” Sbiral said. “It’s a blueprint for the future and something we want to keep updating.”
Sbiral said that he will give monthly updates to trustees about the village’s progress toward implementation of the master plan, and said that efforts in the 2006-07 fiscal year, which begins May 1, will focus on that part of the action agenda that involves zoning code revisions and other administrative efforts.
“In the plan there’s a 12-page action agenda with close to 100 specific items,” Sbiral said. “We’ve grouped some of those together for what we can get done in one year. The goal of the updating is to establish measurable goals, to track progress and note action.
“The more people know this, the better off we are. The exchange of this information is vital.”
During the next year, Sbiral said revising the village’s zoning code will be a particular focus.
“Probably 80 percent of the items we’re contemplating are making sure codes are compatible with the master plan,” Sbiral said. “It’s the most important item, because it’s the one thing the village has the most control over.”
In order to facilitate that, the village has called upon its Plan Commission, which, in recent years, met sporadically to consider narrow ordinance changes or planned developments.
Last month, the village board passed an ordinance calling for regular monthly meetings of the Plan Commission. The group had its first monthly meeting on Feb. 23, and talked about its goals for the implementation of the master plan.
Plan Commission Chairman P. Christopher Straka said he was “thrilled” about the opportunity for the Plan Commission to become involved in the master plan implementation.
“We’re very happy that we’re actually going to see action taken regarding implementation,” said Straka, who was a member of the master plan committee that met from spring of 2003 until fall of 2004 to help formulate the plan.
Straka said he’s also excited about the prospect of the Plan Commission being viewed as a partner in the planning process.
“Keith [Sbiral] also indicated that he hopes we’ll become more involved with members contacting him on building issues, rather than following their direction only,” Straka said.
Next month, the Plan Commission will start examining the part of the village’s zoning code regarding side-yard setbacks in residential districts. As currently written, the code discourages second-story additions by requiring a side-yard setback that is greater than many already existing setbacks. As a result, many homes in the village are already non-conforming and any homeowner seeking to build a second story is required to get a zoning variance to do so. The village had granted several such variances in recent years.
“We want to be successful in recommending revisions to the antiquated codes to make the village more attractive [to current and prospective residents] in the residential areas, and to develop the commercial districts,” Straka said.
Matthew Sinde, who chaired the Master PLan Committee and is chairman of Brookfield’s Zoning Board of Appeals, said he wasn’t sure what role the zoning board might play in the master plan implementation process, but also expressed happiness that the village was moving forward.
“It’s not rhetoric, there’s action being taken,” Sinde said. “The village can’t let this sit on the side. They’re taking the bull by the horns and are starting to work at it.”