One of the positive actions the current Brookfield village management has initiated since last year has been the resurrection of the Brookfield Plan Commission. During the previous several years, the Plan Commission, which is created by state statute and ought to be a real force for directing development in the village, was virtually dormant.
It met on an as-needed basis?”and it wasn’t needed much?”mainly, to give its input on specific developments seeking approval. That wasn’t enough. The Plan Commission needs to be actively involved in reorganizing the village’s codes and making sure they mesh with the 2020 Master Plan.
That effort is already under way in a limited way. The Plan Commission is currently examining small-picture code tweaks. For example, it was the Plan Commission that helped pave the way for a text amendment in the zoning code that definitively allowed non-conforming homes to add second stories using the current footprint of the home.
That’s all well and good, but the commission ought be looking at big-picture issues as well.
Case in point: 47th Street.
When the 2020 Master Plan was being developed, it became clear that the committee working on the plan couldn’t ignore the importance of the area along 47th. When the old Reynolds Aluminum plant across the street in McCook met the wrecking ball, it revealed the vastness of the area McCook is currently redeveloping. A large storage facility has already been erected directly across the street from Brookfield, but the bulk of the development has yet to begin.
We wonder just how well Brookfield officials know what is slated for that huge tract of land across the street, because it doesn’t get much mention. But in a town seeking avenues for economic development, we gaze across 47th Street and see a real opportunity to piggyback onto a vast commercial redevelopment initiative.
While the Plan Commission may be busy with definitions and small code adjustments, we think that their time might be better served by casting their net a bit wider. The zoning and use of property along 47th Street should be part of that conversation.
Giving a lift
Whenever suburban school districts look at students who area struggling, especially in junior high/middle school grades, it’s common to hear the explanation that those struggling are recent transfers to the district, unaccustomed to its expectations or rigor.
Many times, the explanation is left at that?”we get these new kids, they struggle for a year or two and then move off, only to be replaced with more struggling students.
As a result, it’s refreshing to see that Riverside School District 96 will begin a program next year that will attempt to help those new students adjust to life?”both academically and socially?”at Hauser Junior High. That kind of proactive approach is one that will bear positive results not only for those students individually, but the school as a whole.