Four years ago the Brookfield Village Board adopted a major amendment to its zoning code. At the time, the term was “zoning modernization” and it resulted in the Station Area Zoning code, which encouraged new high-density development near each of the village’s three Metra stations.
In many ways, the zoning modernization was a response to what elected officials had been hearing from residents for many years? Why can’t Brookfield attract development like LaGrange? What are you going to do about all these vacant storefronts? Why don’t you go out and attract new businesses, get cracking on economic development?
In an old rail line downtown, like Brookfield – with small, oddly shaped parcels and building stock that dates back a century or more – it’s tough to attract a business of any size. Mostly, you’re going to attract niche businesses, small boutiques, independent restaurants and bars.
And you really aren’t going to be successful at bringing people to an off-the-beaten-path downtown like Grand Boulevard without actively seeking to increase the population in the neighborhood.
That’s the trade-off. There are consequences for wanting the things you want. You may get things you didn’t anticipate.
The circumstances over at Paulette Delcourt’s home on Grand Boulevard are really unfortunate, and if anyone intentionally or unintentionally steered her in the wrong direction, no one’s lining up to admit it.
Regardless, that die is cast and Delcourt is having to live with the consequences – a three-story building looming over her property on two sides, inches away from the property line. It won’t always be so noisy and dusty, but its presence will be permanent.
A builder reportedly has bought the property on the other side of her house – the Cook County Clerk hasn’t recorded the sale yet, but online real estate sites confirm it has changed hands. The new buyer reportedly told Delcourt he plans to keep it as a rental home. But another building just like the one to the north is possible there, too.
The reality is that while Grand Boulevard has retained a handful of homes dating back at least 90 years, Brookfield always viewed Grand Boulevard as a commercial area. Shortly after Delcourt’s home was built in 1911, a big thriving printing business (now converted into condos) was built. There was a movie theater across the street and a string of businesses farther south on the block.
There is more commercial development coming on Grand Boulevard, meaning the village’s zoning modernization is working. The block’s transformation will continue.