Connectivity will make neighborhood streets a racetrack!
Surprisingly, the residents stated they were in favor of the property being redeveloped. Those who spoke, echoed many of the same concerns. Number 1 was to restrict new development traffic from entering their narrow residential streets, #2 keep the berm on Columbia, #3 preference to condo development over apartments, and #4 fear that the retail will remain vacant due to the glut in the retail space already available in Brookfield. Various other concerns were put to the Plan Commission: that the condos would turn into low income housing, that the new development needed a city water source—not use private wells, and many questions regarding the traffic study (sound familiar?).
Resident John Corbin, who just happens to be a traffic engineer, said he spent the weekend going over the 37 page traffic study. He said those trip generation reports can be very widely interpreted. For example: the 633 trips projected per day would balloon to 15,000 per day if more retail were included in the mixed use development. Approximately 37% to 47% of that traffic could go to Columbia Blvd. and all would go to Nelson. He urged that Kent, once a through street to Bluemound, not be reopened, and he cautioned that even at conservative estimates, traffic on Columbia and Nelson could double to 1 vehicle per minute at times.
Kurt VanDyke, the broker for Quebecor (the former printing company), told the commission that the developers the printer has been talking to have not had much interest in connecting the new roads to the existing neighborhood. He also cautioned that to make this city proposed mixed use redevelopment it needed to be “of financial interest to Quebecor”. In other words, the density must be high enough (translate: more money making units per acre). Otherwise, his company would just look for another industrial type buyer.
Resident John Nooney, who is also a developer, agreed with the Quebecor representative, that from a developer’s perspective, there is NO NEED to connect to the neighborhood’s roads.
There you have it. The residents are all solidly against adding any connecting streets to the new development--they don’t want the additional traffic. The broker for Quebecor said the developers were not overly concerned with access to the neighborhood, and the resident developer affirmed that from a developer’s perspective, access would not be necessary.
Connectivity seems to be the buzz word at City Hall these days, but not every connection is a good thing. As one resident stated, these new connections only benefit the new development and they harm the neighborhood. Will the Plan Commission listen to these people?
District 7 Alderman, Lisa Mellone, would like to hear from you regarding this developement. Please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
LINKS: www.betterbrookfield.com and www.brookfieldnow.com
You may wish to check out www.newberlinnow.com too. It looks like blogger Matt Thomas will touch on Brookfield, county, and state issues from time to time.