The Brookfield Plan Commission, which hasn’t met since giving a thumbs down to a proposal for a church/community center at Eight Corners back in 2010, will now take a look at the Brookfield Public Library’s plan for a new campus at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Grand Boulevard.

On Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m. in the council chamber of Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave., the plan commission will consider a preliminary development plan being floated by the library for the construction of a 38,500-square-foot library, entry plaza and parking lot.

Click here to see the full proposal.

The cost to build such a library campus has been estimated between $9.5 and $12 million.

The hearing will include discussion of staff’s analysis of the plan and how it fits with Brookfield’s long-range planning goals and will afford an opportunity for public comment for or against the plan.

The plan commission, unless it chooses to continue the hearing, is expected to make a preliminary recommendation to either move ahead with the process or not. The village board has the final say on whether the plan passes muster.

If the plan commission and, later, the village board give the preliminary plan their blessing, it will set up a final plan review by both the plan commission and village board. The entire process is expected to take at least two months, probably more, to complete.

The hearing won’t address issues of cost or how construction will be funded if the plan is approved. Rather, it will focus on the site plan and whether it meets village standards.

“We’re looking at the standards in the [planned unit development] ordinance and how they apply to the project,” said Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral, who also serves as Brookfield director of building and planning. “Does the project meet the standards, is it an improvement or are there serious deficiencies that make it fall short of the standards.”

Library officials have said there is no hurry to break ground on the project. It will likely take some sort of tax referendum to fully fund construction of a new library, but library officials have said it will be 2-5 years before such a question is put to voters.

Plans submitted for the July 19 meeting propose constructing a new 37-foot-tall building on property where the former Brookfield United Methodist Church is located, at 3541 Park Ave.

The library board has agreed to buy the property for $615,000 and planned to close on the property on July 12. However, the closing date has been delayed until the library board gets an idea of how the proposal will be received by village officials.

“We’re got to the [July 19 meeting] first,” said library board President Dianne Duner. “We want to see what happens there.”

The village board could discuss the plan commission’s recommendation as early as the Committee of the Whole meeting, scheduled for July 23. However, the earliest the board would vote on that recommendation would be Aug. 27.

Asked whether the library would wait until the end of August to close on the property, Duner said, “At this point, we’re still interested in purchasing the property. That’s all I care to say at this time.”

Architectural drawings, though preliminary, give a pretty detailed picture of what’s being proposed. The front faade would face south toward Lincoln Avenue. The Prairie-style brick building – particularly the second floor – will feature wide expanses of glass, giving it a transparent quality.

The front entrance looks out onto the entry plaza and parking lot, which would be created by the village vacating Lincoln Avenue between Grand Boulevard and Oak Avenue. The existing library at 3609 Grand Boulevard would be demolished to accommodate a 50-vehicle parking lot.

The main entry into the parking lot would be off Grand Boulevard although there is a secondary eastern entrance on Lincoln Avenue near Oak Avenue.

According to the library’s architectural firm, the new configuration would increase safety and reduce on-street parking, and the entry plaza could be used for public events.

The plan itself would need several zoning variations, which would also be addressed during the plan commission’s hearing.

First, the library is seeking a variation to locate the building on land zoned for single-family residential use. Libraries are a special use in residential areas and must get special permission to be built there.

The fact that a church – also a special use – presently occupies the site, will likely strengthen the library board’s argument to allow the new library there. However, there are other considerations.

The library wants to build a structure that is higher than allowed. The zoning code limits buildings to 35 feet or 2.5 stories, whichever is lower, in a residential district. The proposed library is 37 feet at the peak of the hip roofs atop the building and a tower proposed near the front entrance is 46 feet tall.

In addition, the library is asking to reduce the minimum front, side and rear setbacks for the building and is asking to increase the maximum lot coverage for a building in the residential district.

The library has addressed storm water issues, saying that storm water will be detained by building a vault structure beneath the parking lot. Permeable pavers and green roof solutions are also being considered, according to the preliminary plan.

Brookfield Library Proposal