Dear Suburb Saver,
This Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7:45pm, the Common Council meets. On the agenda: Discussion and possible action on the referral from Jerry Mellone. (Sorry, the actual agenda is not on the City website due to their virus problems.) Attend if you can.
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?
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 . Tell them to follow proper procedures. (Aldermen's email addresses are located at the very bottom of this email.)Background:
At the last Common Council meeting on Sept. 19, Alderman Jerry Mellone made a referral regarding the proposed widening of Calhoun Road south. (See entire referral at bottom of this email.) 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 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.
Kyle PrastNews coverage:
Outside of Cindy Kilkenny's Brookfield City News blog (scroll half way down the post) on brookfieldnow there has not been any news coverage of J. Mellone's referral to stop the 130' plans, or the concept that the city is not following its own Master Plan that I know of. Both the Milwaukee Journal and Brookfield News reporters were at the last council meeting but nothing showed up in the papers. Check for updates on www.brookfieldnow.com and www.brookfield7.comAlderman 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.
District 6 AldermanLinks: Betterbrookfield, Vicki Mckenna
Blogs: Practically Speaking, Fairlyconservative