In addition to seeking approval for preliminary plans for a new library at 3541 Park Ave., the Brookfield Public Library Board of Trustees is also asking village officials to grant them up to seven years to complete the project.
On Thursday, the village’s plan commission recommended that the village board approve an amended site plan for the development and also approve the library board’s request to extend the time allowed to move the development forward.
The plan commission vote to approve the amended plan was 4 to 1. Charles Grund was the only commissioner to vote against the amendments, which centered on addressing traffic circulation. Commissioners Karen Miller, Mark Weber, Jeane Eineman and Christopher Straka voted for the new plan.
Thursday’s vote also recommended extending the time the preliminary planned development will be valid. Typically, preliminary development plans are good for one year before a final plan application is introduced. The library board is asking that its preliminary plan be good for five years and that its final plan be good for another two years before being required to pull building permits.
“The discussion revolved around the current economic situation and how far in the future we felt we could go if we needed to go for referendum,” said library board President Dianne Duner.
“It’s a safety valve for us.”
Grund said he preferred the library’s original site plan, which called for a 50-space parking lot and closed off Lincoln Avenue west of Oak Avenue. The new plan creates what amounts to an extension of Oak Avenue, connecting Lincoln Avenue with Grand Boulevard. It also necessitated 11 fewer parking spaces.
“I’m in favor of the larger parking lot,” said Grund.
He also said that the Oak Avenue extension was, for all intents and purposes, “a through street in a parking lot” since it would bracketed on both sides of the roadway by parking spaces.
Grund added that while Lincoln Avenue would remain one way westbound, motorists would use the new Oak Avenue extension as a shortcut to Oak Avenue north of Lincoln Avenue.
“I think the perception will be, ‘I can cut through whenever I want.’ That’s just my gut feeling,” said Grund.
But other commissioners disagreed, saying that the new plan addressed previous neighborhood concerns about traffic circulation and its impact on streets like Oak Avenue and in neighboring alleys.
Ten Brookfield residents gave input at the plan commission’s hearing, with half supporting the proposal and the other half either opposing all or part of the plan.
“Time has come to move on this project,” said Linda Mack-Tillotson, who lives in the 3500 block of Prairie Avenue. “This could be the start of something big.”
But William Urban, who lives in the 3600 block of Prairie Avenue, disagreed.
“My firm belief is that the site is not suitable,” said Urban, who suggested the board look at other locations, such as the former Brookfield Moose property in the 4000 block of DuBois Boulevard.
“The economics don’t support it,” he added.
Both the original plan and the amended plan, both of which have been recommended by the plan commission, will now head to the village board for further discussion at the trustees’ Committee of the Whole meeting on Nov. 26.
The village board could vote to accept or deny either of the plans at their business meeting, scheduled for Dec. 10.
If the village board approves either of the preliminary planned development applications, the plan will head back to the plan commission for consideration of a final planned development. The village board would again have the final say on whether the final plan is adopted.
The library has still not purchased the former Brookfield United Methodist Church property where the new library would be located. The board has pledged $615,000 for the property, and could move to buy once it has preliminary approval from the village board.
“We can’t hold off on the seller forever,” Duner said, “certainly not for seven years.”
In the article “Brookfield plan group to hear latest library proposal” (News, Nov. 7), an illustration of the proposal accompanying the piece mistakenly showed Oak Avenue north of Lincoln Avenue as a one-way street. The plan calls for Oak Avenue to remain a two-way street north of Lincoln Avenue.
The Landmark regrets the error.