BROOKFIELD — Residents will have
an opportunity to weigh in on proposed lighting changes at portions
of Brookfield Square next month, following a decision Tuesday.
The Common Council voted, 13-1, in favor of a request from the
city’s community development department to hold a public hearing on
a proposal to permit light poles of up to 32 feet at areas
designated as “regional shopping malls” within the city’s zoning
Dan Ertl, director of community development, said the proposal is
tailored specifically toward Brookfield Square, the city’s only
property that falls within the zoning category.
The proposal, which Ertl has referenced as a “carveout” to the
general terms of Brookfield’s zoning code, comes as new development
is slated at and near Brookfield Square’s southeastern portion.
“The zoning code limits the heights of parking lot and service drive
lighting throughout the community to 20 feet, including bases,” Ertl
wrote in a memo, outlining the proposal. “Due to the vast size of
the parking areas of the mall and the number of ring roads and
service drives, it is appropriate to increase the permissible height
to 32 feet.”
The changes would apply to the new tenants replacing the Sears
parcel at the mall, including eateries Outback Steakhouse and Uncle
Julio’s, in addition to the WhirlyBall entertainment venue and
The amendment to the zoning code also would apply to the new
development sprouting up directly to the south of the mall,
including the Brookfield Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn
properties that are replacing the Sears Auto Center site.
Several aldermen shared different viewpoints on the proposal at
Alderman Christopher Blackburn, a staunch opponent to allocating
municipal funds toward the developments underway at the mall, said
he was against the city making changes to suit the needs of one
Blackburn voted against forwarding the proposal to a public hearing.
Speaking to increasing lighting accommodations, Blackburn said,
“We’re going the opposite direction, in terms of what we’ve been
hearing from residents. This is a very narrow focus.”
Alderman Gary Mahkorn, however, offered a different viewpoint.
“I’m glad that we’re recognizing the mall and its unique
characteristics,” said Mahkorn, who was not concerned about the
change proposed since no residential properties are near the mall.
At the meeting, Ertl pointed out the city has made changes to the
zoning code specific to Brookfield Square in the past. The socalled
carve-outs Ertl referenced in the past pertained to permitting
“diverse architecture” at the mall and loosened height restrictions.
“It is a unique entity in the city,” Ertl said of Brookfield Square
and the regional mall designation. “We only have one.”
A specific date and time for the public hearing will be announced
Also Tuesday, the council voted in favor of a method of operation
for Fiddleheads’ plans of operating out of the 2,950-square-foot
train depot within a mixed-use development at 18870-19100 N. Hills
The Plan Commission gave a favorable recommendation to Fiddleheads’
proposal Monday. A tentative timeline calls for the coffee roaster
operating out of the relocated train depot by late next summer.