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.

Alderman Jerry Mellone's referral: follow the Master Plan

Alderman Jerry Mellone's referral:
To: The Common Council of the City of Brookfield
From: Alderman Gerald Mellone, 6th district
Date: September 18, 2006
RE: Calhoun Road

On February 1, 2005, the Common Council of the City of Brookfield approved Ordinance 1998-05. This ordinance removes the control of the Master Plan from the Plan Commission and redirects the responsibility to the Common Council. With that fact in mind, I am withdrawing my referral to the Plan Commission. This is a matter for the Council as a Whole. The ordinance does not claim a stop to the Plan Commission is part of the process for the Master Plan.

Below you will find a solid argument to limit the right of way (ROW) width on Calhoun Road between Bluemound and Greenfield to 100 feet:

1. The Master Plan has not been revised to accommodate a 130 foot ROW for an arterial boulevard. Page 40 of the Master Plan (Phase Two: Master Plan Document) clearly articulates " Brookfield's Boulevard Arterial Section" as 100 feet ROW maximum. For clarity, a figure (numbered 27) is provided on page 41. This drawing shows a boulevard with foot paths.

2. The more detailed document, the Calhoun Road South Neighborhood Plan (CRSNP) and Transportation Plan, adopted by Resolution 6771 on July 17, 2001 is an amendment to the Master Plan described above. If details occurred to define the issue, these details would override any of the Master Plan vision. There is no page of the CRSNP that suggests anything more than the Master Plan measurement of 100 feet ROW. Page 66 in item S-4 specifically describes Calhoun Road. The CRSNP describes a "four-lane divided section maximum." Right of way is never described, so the measurement of 100 feet is upheld in the Master Plan document.

3. The ROW of 100 feet in the Master Plan commentary includes a separated bike or pedestrian path. The final paragraph of this section on page 40 says, "However, in such cases where there exists inadequate right-of-way, one path, approximately eight feet wide is sufficient."

4. The formal process for an amendment to the Master Plan is outlined on page 89 as "Other Amendments – 'Interim Amendments.'" Be sure to substitute the power of the Common Council in exchange for that granted to the Plan Commission.

In conclusion, the City of Brookfield must stop design plans for widening Calhoun Road with a 130 foot right of way. There are other conditions listed in the Master Plan that are not being followed in the development of this project. It is the responsibility, under Wisconsin law that the Common Council maintains Brookfield's Master Plan. I am including additional documentation previously directed to the Plan Commission, in this referral for the Common Council to review.

Gerald Mellone
District 6 Alderman

Contact the Aldermen


Bill Carnell 781-1058

Dan Sutton 373-0173

Rick Owen 790-9888

Bob Reddin 781-4029

James Garvens 782-8482

Ron Balzer 782-1177

Steve Ponto 789-9877

Mark Nelson 797-8503

Scott Berg 797-8772

Gary Mahkorn 784-0605

Jerry Mellone 786-6719

Chris Blackburn 821-5262

Lisa Mellone 780-0805

Mike Franz 786-4174 (I don't believe he uses email) 14060 Tulane St. 53005

Mayor Jeff Speaker

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rule # 1 when studying an issue: Don’t ask any questions that you don’t want the answers to!

Tonight’s Fire/EMS Task Force presentation by Alderman Berg, Dean Marquardt, and Fire Chief Dahms was smooth, professional, and logical--at least it was if you did not think things through or question what you were told. And please, no thinking outside of the box. Their goal? To balance response times and address facility needs. Their recommendation? Replace and relocate 2 fire stations along Calhoun Road. Cost? About $6 million. But not to worry, Alderman Berg assured the audience, “This is far from being a done deal.”

The following are just a few of the many questions and concerns.

One gentleman who lived in the southwest part of the city addressed the council prior to the report. He was very concerned with the 7 to 7:30 minute response times to his area of the city, and so he supported the move of station 3 (Moorland’s). This is perfectly understandable, but under the new fire station proposal, his area of the city would receive 3:27 to 3:48 minute responses, while the east side would now have to wait 6:50 minutes for emergency service. How is this balancing out the response times?

The task force did not present what percentage of emergency calls are to Brookfield Square/hotels/etc. and I-94 in comparison to the residential calls. I have heard about 3/4ths of all calls are in this “hot zone” of need. No comment was made that the southeast section of the city is more densely populated than the southwest section. Does it make sense to move the fire station away from the majority of calls on the south side?

I noticed when they were showing their map of response times that there did not appear to be many hypothetical west side time test sites near Springdale Road, that were not along North Ave. I would think some of those west side subdivision residents would be in the 7+ range of response times. Actually, what the response time map illustrated to me was that there was not much need for the central fire house at the safety building location because the Lilly Rd. location had the north east corner covered and Moorland Rd. had the south part of the city covered. What we really needed was something on the west side. (Those cows are so out of the barn.)

One startling piece of information disclosed was that it could take our new combined Waukesha dispatch a whole minute from the time the 911 call came into them to contact the appropriate fire house in Brookfield, alerting them to send out a team. That surprised me. I think we, as a community, need to know what our old response time was on dispatch and then decide if this new system is working.

Mr. Marquardt mentioned that both fire stations mechanical systems were at the end of their life cycles and that it was time to replace them. I found that curious since they were not built in the same year. Fire station 2 was built in 1966 and station 3 was built in 1977.

I think it is time to explore the possibilities: What about setting up a western EMS station, and the fire trucks can be dispatched from the safety building? That would certainly improve the west side emergency response times for resuscitation. Alderman Carnell asked, should we be answering calls outside of city limits? Is that fair to Brookfield taxpayers? Could we privatize the EMS? (Privatizing is not always the money saving venture you would think it would be. Many times quality suffers. It is worth looking into though.) Alderman Lisa Mellone wanted assurance that there would be a public hearing on this whole issue. The issue now goes to the finance and human resource committees.

Talk to your neighbors about this and contact all of the aldermen. It is important.

Friday, September 15, 2006

3 Fire stations all in a row. Really? A Want? A Need? Or just illogical?

Go back in time, say about 50 years. Imagine you are a city planner. Would you plan to place your only 3 fire stations all in a row, less than 3 miles apart in a city that is approximately 6 miles square? Dividing the distance between those fire stations would mean each station would service a strip 6 miles wide by less than 2 miles. The 6 minute or longer response times are still not eliminated. The cost is high.

I don’t think most city planners would lay out a city fire station plan that way. Ours did not over 50 years ago, but our city is planning that now.

This Tuesday, at the Common Council meeting, 7:45pm, the Fire Station Task Force will present their recommendations (rationale). They are proposing to relocate our two east side fire stations to move west to Calhoun Road. That means the east side is giving up their quicker response times for the westsiders. (I am not saying that the west side should suffer. I just do not see the logic in going through the expense--$5million?--of building 2 new stations only so the west side achieves better fire service at the expense of the east side’s faster response times. It still does not solve the longer than 6 min. response times.)

The Moorland Road fire station is currently in an excellent position to service Brookfield Square and all the retail/hotels nearby. Its location across from the I-94 entrance ramp allows prompt response times for freeway accidents. The new location on Calhoun and Greenfield would put district 7 residents closer to 124th street in the 6 minute or longer response time zone. The proposed Calhoun station location is less than 3 miles from the Safety Building and does not have I-94 access. (Remember, the city insists that the new Calhoun Road expressway bridge is INTERCHANGE NEUTRAL.)

Please attend this Tuesday’s council meeting. Hear what the task force has to say. Ask yourself it this makes sense. Also consider how many millions of dollar projects can the taxpayers afford?

Our alderman, Lisa Mellone, asks that we contact her and give her feedback on this topic so that she can better represent our interests. She also has information posted on her website. Give all of the aldermen feedback on this; how else will they know what you think of this plan.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Summer is nearly over, vacation memories are fading, and school is back in session. It is time to turn our thoughts to more serious matters: the fall 2006 elections.

It always amazes me that more people don’t vote; it is so easy to do. It is estimated that 35% of eligible Americans are not registered to vote--that translates to around 45 – 65 million people! Over half of the voting age population does not bother to vote. That is shameful.

Brookfield is no different. Last spring the turnout of registered voters was only 38% compared to 40% and 45% for the previous two mayoral elections. Is it that we are so distracted by our busy schedules that we don’t have the energy to pay attention to elections?

I vote for candidates that reflect my values: both moral and fiscal. If you want to know where your candidate stands on moral issues, The Family Research Institute of Wisconsin (associated with Focus on the Family) has a website that includes a Primary Election Voter Information Guide. The F.R.I. group was founded 20 years ago to forward Judeo-Christian principles and values.

It is such a privilege to cast a vote for those who make the decisions affecting our community, state, and nation. Take the time to do a little research and then vote on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Polls are open from 7am to 8pm.