All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Saturday, September 30, 2006

City needs to follow the Master Plan, or are they hoping we won't notice?

This Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7:45 pm, the Common Council meets. On the agenda: Item #11, Discussion and possible action on the referral from Jerry Mellone. (The actual agenda is not on the City website due to their virus problems. Item 11 probably won't be discussed until 8:15 or later.)

This is an important issue. Will our City follow the correct protocols regarding changes to the Master Plan, or just do as they please hoping we won't notice? Attend if you can.

Background: At the last Common Council meeting on Sept. 19, Alderman Jerry Mellone made a referral regarding the proposed widening of Calhoun Road south. He found that Brookfield's 2020 Master Plan does NOT call for a 130 foot right of way, but instead specifies a 100 foot maximum width for roadways. (I believe the plan also encourages the use of 75 foot widths wherever possible in residential areas like Calhoun south of I-94.) He is requesting that the city stop the 130 foot design plans and adhere to Brookfield's Master Plan.

In February of 2005, the Common Council unanimously voted to remove control of the Master Plan from the Plan Commission, transferring that responsibility to the Common Council. That means that the Common Council is the body now responsible for proposing and approving any changes to the Master Plan. That change is good; it makes the decision makers accountable to the voters.

According to Brookfield City News (mid page) there was "a 1997 Wisconsin Supreme Court decision that upheld the priority of the Master Plan in a community". Although Master Plans are not written in stone, there is a proper procedure to change them. At a council meeting early in 2006 the question was asked, when as a council did we decide the road should be 130 feet wide? The answer was that the council never did formally decide or vote to make the road that wide; engineering just proposed that width increase on its own. Since the Council never went through that process of proposing a change and then voting to approve that the right-of-way be widened to 130 feet, the 2020 Master Plan should prevail in this case. The Master Plan concept was created to ensure decisions be made purposely and not just happen because a department like engineering wanted it that way.

Alderman Jerry Mellone is requesting that proper procedures be followed regarding the right-of-way width for Calhoun south. The Master Plan either needs to be followed or the proper procedures for amending that plan need to be enacted. It is important that our city follow the rules and principles they outlined, not just in this situation, but for future decisions for other areas of our city as well. Policy changes need to be made by those we elect, not by city department heads and staff.

Contact all of the aldermen concerning these two issues: 1. The importance of following the Master Plan or amending it properly, and 2. The widening of Calhoun Road.


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