A decade ago, Brookfield wrapped up an ambitious planning effort focused on the village’s primary business district. Now, through a pair of grants from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency on Planning (CMAP) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Brookfield will undertake projects to develop a new comprehensive plan and update its zoning code.
CMAP last week announced that Brookfield was one of more than two dozen communities to be awarded a Local Technical Assistance grant to develop a comprehensive plan that will address everything from land use, demographics and parks to future commercial and residential real estate development.
“The bottom line is putting some real goals and real strategic vision to what the village needs to do over the next 10 years,” said Village Manager Keith Sbiral, who applied for the CMAP grant this summer.
Sbiral has not met with CMAP officials yet, but the entire process likely will take about a year. Riverside received a CMAP grant in 2011, with its village board accepting a comprehensive plan for that village’s downtown area in early 2013.
Riverside’s village board is now in the process of implementing recommendations from that CMAP-led planning effort.
The planning process will include public participation, which will come at open meetings and through other means through the use of technology. The public’s participation will be critical to ensuring a final document that is in line with what Brookfield residents want to see in the future, Sbiral said.
“We’ll be trying to get as much community participation and feedback as we can possibly get. It’s the only way a comprehensive planning process can be successful,” Sbiral said. “We want to get through and measure how we’re getting through to residents.”
While the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan completed in 2004 addressed business districts specifically, Sbiral said he hoped that the CMAP plan goes further.
“I hope this looks like a 2020 Master Plan that’s rounded out to include all the things that plan doesn’t,” said Sbiral, “everything from the pedestrian walkability of the village to how our community looks at everything from parks to residential neighborhoods.”
It’s unclear when exactly the CMAP planning process will begin, but it’s likely not to start in earnest until early 2015.
Prior to receiving word on the CMAP grant, Brookfield learned it had been awarded a $20,000 grant from the RTA to help with an update of the village’s zoning ordinance. Officials from CMAP and the RTA treated the applications as a package, said Sbiral, and the final products ought to complement each other.
While the two efforts will in some way run parallel to each other, the zoning update will be informed by the comprehensive plan and will likely be completed after the comprehensive plan.
“The agencies did coordinate on the applications,” said Sbiral. “The goal is to get it all to work together.”
Sbiral said the zoning update will focus principally on Brookfield’s downtown and Ogden Avenue commercial corridors. Among the topics that will be explored during the zoning update, Sbiral said, would be what he termed “useless” parking standards and design standards that hamper redevelopment efforts. The zoning code update completed in the 1990s focused on what already existed and the code was tailored to those uses, said Sbiral.
“We need to look at where we want to go in the future. How do we address apartments, condos and density?” Sbiral said. “There are obvious issues in the parking section of the code.”
More information on public meetings related to the CMAP planning process will become available in the future.