Last summer, Brookfield trustees adopted a plan called Energize Ogden, a roadmap of sorts for the future redevelopment of the commercial corridor that funnels thousands of vehicles through the middle of the village.

Its legacy as a haven for automobile-centric businesses – repair shops, gas stations, car dealerships and roadside motels – is still very much in evidence, although a little rough around the edges.

Energize Ogden was created to give developers an idea of what Brookfield would like to see happen along that busy throughfare, not just the preferred types of major redevelopment but how existing property owners can share in reshaping the corridor.

While a major streetscape improvement is likely still years away from happening, things are already stirring and local officials need to begin implementing Energize Ogden as soon as possible.

In just the last couple of months, two Ogden Avenue property owners have approached the village with requests for zoning relief. One of the property owners is leasing a non-descript box of a building at 8939 Ogden Ave. to a livery business that would like to warehouse its fleet in the large indoor rear space there.

More recently, the new owner of the property at 9428 Ogden Ave., long home to auto repair businesses, seeks zoning variations to expand the buildings.

Both of these are opportunities to put Energize Ogden into practice and set an example of what Brookfield expects of developers and property owners who want zoning concessions from the village.

In the case of the property at 9428 Ogden Ave., it appears that staff and the owner have already had conversations along those lines. The initial cinderblock additions proposed by the owner are now brick, and there is landscaping, a decorative fence and code-conforming monument sign planned for the area along the property’s front lot line.

Whether such discussions have been had with the property or business owner seeking the warehouse use at 8939 Ogden Ave. is not as clear. 

The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission put no conditions on their recommendation in favor of granting a special use permit for the warehouse use. It’s also a tough property to landscape, at least along Ogden Avenue, because the building is built up to the front lot line. Any landscaping would have to take place in what is now the east parking lot.

But the village does hold some cards here, and while the commission may not have imposed any conditions, trustees can certainly add some, whether they have to do with signage or other façade elements.

Brookfield offers property owners in TIF districts, like the one along Ogden Avenue, grants to make façade improvements, so there’s really no excuse for allowing zoning relief without the village getting something in return.

Energize Ogden is beautification in addition to development. Here are two places to get that work started.