We’re still a bit nonplussed about why getting the Brookfield Public Library’s final development plan up for a vote is such a problem.
We get it, the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission imposed some conditions that the library is none too comfortable with. And we get it that the Brookfield Village Board was all set to deliberate about an ordinance reflecting those conditions.
What we don’t get is why the village board couldn’t have a reasonable discussion about those conditions, maybe change a couple up to give the library the flexibility it believes it needs to build the new facility, and then take a vote.
Is there someone on the village board who actually wants to stand in the way of the library getting a chance to sell its new facility to voters? We don’t believe there is.
There’s now come a line of thinking that everybody needs to be on the same page before the village board votes to approve the final design. Why that matters, we can’t tell.
Apparently, there’s a belief that consensus will make the plan more saleable to the public. We don’t think the public cares at all about what the points of difference in this case are.
After all, let’s look at the conditions in question:
First, there’s a condition to “reduce” the size of the tower. Well, that’s pretty ambiguous. You want it shorter? Narrower? There’s a mandated staircase and elevator in that tower. Those have to be certain sizes, and if you want to provide access to the roof, it needs to be a certain height.
And why is the Planning and Zoning Commission even worrying about this? The commission isn’t there to do design review. The plan is reasonable. Heck, it’s smaller than the preliminary plan — which both the commission and village board approved.
The other conditions? In our view, they’re quibbles. Is the village board going to risk derailing this plan over a car-charging space and the use of recycled materials for carpets and furniture?
Sustainable building practices are great. More institutions — say, the village of Brookfield — should seek to adopt them whenever possible. For the Planning and Zoning Commission to mandate them for another governmental entity seems a stretch.
Whatever. The whole thing will go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission in February. And that commission may or may not choose to alter the conditions that it has imposed.
That doesn’t mean the village board can’t override or modify any of those conditions. Or maybe the village board will end up agreeing with the commission and impose the same conditions.
Of course, the village board could have done any or all of that already. Then again, what any village trustee thinks about any of this is still a complete mystery because even though they all could have kicked around what they thought on Monday night and maybe provided some indication of what they were thinking, no one did.
Here’s something to think about: The next time this plan comes back to the committee of the whole in March, how’s about a discussion?