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Draft Concept Plan for Four Corners Development

Consultants finish study phase with presentation of preliminary vision.

The to gather information on what Brookfield residents want to see in the Town Center District (TCD) came to a close Thursday night with a presentation of a preliminary vision of a pedestrian- and commercial-friendly, New England-style village for the area known as Four Corners.

The conceptual plan is to split the Four Corners into four quadrants, each with a network of walking paths, designated parking areas and traffic flow all designed to minimize the need to turn on and off of Federal Road.

The main stretch itself, Route 202, formerly a major commuter throughway before the completion of the Super 7 bypass, would slow down, becoming more of an outdoor mall, with wide walking and biking paths and plenty of seating and “green space.”

The proposed vision is for a “great place to sit and just enjoy yourself,” said Carol Gould, team leader from FHI Consulting, the planning firm hired to conduct the study and form an action plan to help development move forward. “We have some public plazas, gathering places, perhaps some off-street plazas — which was not a favorite [in public surveys] but perhaps secondary — but we’ll definitely keep the character and the historic elements of the Craft Center.”

According to Gould, preference surveys showed that residents wanted to see plenty of benches and wide, safe walking areas.

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When it comes to walking, studies have shown that “people like choices — how much sun they want to get, how much they don’t want to get, how much shopping they want to do and how much nature they want to be absorbed in,” Senior Planner Francisco Gomes said, describing plans for pedestrian routes through each quadrant, as well as multi-use nature trails in the wetlands to the west and along the Still River to the east.

As part of the proposal, the TCD would be anchored in the north by a medium sized grocery store, such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

“We see this very much as an anchor or a bookend,” Gomes said, referring to lot where Barn Yard and Great Country Garages is now, with mixed-used “infill” development south toward the intersection.

That stretch “has some missing teeth,” he said, and doesn’t have a consistent façade, but if developed properly could accommodate retail and offices as well as residential, with plenty of room for parking and walking paths in the rear if lots along the Still River can be consolidated.

“It isn’t as simple as buying out properties, but getting property owners together to realize they may benefit in a number of ways” by coming together, Gomes said, adding, “It’s a long road, it’s not as simple as just recommending it.”

However, there are developers and property owners interested in moving forward, provided there is a consensus on direction.

According to Gomes, the southwest quadrant would be a prime place to start.

“This could really be the catalyst for everything else that happens here,” he said. “This might be your core area for development of medical offices, doctors offices, it has potential to develop into a campus down there. Up north, there’s more potential for residential,” some of it mixed in as second and third floors to retail establishments.

The retail landscape would be “more ‘boutique-y’ kind of shops,” Senior Project Manager Michael Morehouse said, as the “general region is kind of retailed out” when it comes to big box stores. “This is going to have to be a unique place,” populated with restaurants and specialty shops.

After meeting with the Steering Committee to finalize the concept plan, the consultants will develop an implementation plan to guide development.

“We have some ideas but we really have to put them on paper and put some substance to them,” Gould said.

The consultants expect to present the final plan to a joint session of town’s boards and land use commissions in the coming months and “anticipate wrapping this up by October,” she said.

Kelly May 11, 2012 at 02:28 PM
This looks great- i worked with the company that developed South Norwalk's Maritime Aquarium area and its wonderful there (i noticed that one of the pictures if from there.) That atmosphere would be ideal for the four corners of Brookfield! I hope it works out!
Ryen May 11, 2012 at 02:51 PM
This plan "outline" sounds fantastic! I'm pleasantly surprised. SOOOO glad there will NOT be any "big box" store or excessive emphasis on "same old-same old" retail aspect. Anything along the lines of Federal Rd. would be an eye-sore/blight & kill this area before it started. Whole Foods/Trader Joe's/something similar would be nice, small-scale ONLY at ONE end--with something else different/similar small scale at other end. I'll be DELIGHTED if it has "New England village" feel & ties into Craft Center literally & both Craft Center/train station possibility & Historic District AESTHETICALLY. Details sound nice so far; still somewhat vague. I'll believe it only when I see it--too many opportunities & plans like this have been ruined in the past when real estate interests & certain economic interests sway the direction of things...(continued)
Ryen May 11, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Actually a GREAT OPPORTUNITY for the Brookfield Market to get back to their full potential & upgrade--not stifle or end them. They'll BENEFIT from this in the long run--I see Brookfield Market maintaining their own niche & opportunities, not getting the same crowd as a Whole Foods will. Plus there will be some distance between them. Whole Foods type place is NOT competition for Brookfield Market--totally different niches & customers. I hope & pray that they follow through on this general outline--need more details on how the quadrants will be both separated & tied together & what will become of traffic flow. Sounds great so far--don't ruin this opportunity to keep Brookfield on the map in a positive way--instead of the short-sightedness & ruination that generally exists on Federal Road--although there are some signs that Federal Road is being "fixed" in some spots now--once that LUDICROUS "cornfield to Costco" was stopped...thank the Lord.... :) In long run this should bring more customers back to Brookfield Market, actually....
Ray DiStephan May 11, 2012 at 03:17 PM
I was hoping to see a small music hall or other source of entertainment that could attract people to the area in the evening and to the restaraunts and such. Maybe that can still happen, but the plan sound really great in general.
Aaron Boyd (Editor) May 11, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Kelly Ryan Murphy posted on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BrookfieldPatch): "This looks amazing for Brookfield!!! Would be such an asset!"
Andrea Saunders May 12, 2012 at 11:45 PM
I thought Brookfield Market was only Alcohol, but I guess I am wrong. I don't drink so have never gone in there because of all the alcohol signs. If it is a market as well maybe if they made it look a little more family friendly that would help.
Michael Gianfranceschi May 13, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Steve, the Brookfield Market has not been a store of distinction for at least the last ten years.
john simon May 13, 2012 at 05:03 AM
What about an upscale strip club or sports bar! that would bring some great business to the area.
Steven DeVaux May 14, 2012 at 09:53 AM
Newtown has richer demographics and is far ahead in putting them into a footprint there in the next year. Brookfield won't even be out of the gate.
Steven DeVaux May 14, 2012 at 09:54 AM
Four corners is not a waterfront district by any means.
Steven DeVaux May 14, 2012 at 09:58 AM
John, That would drive out the local businesses by massage parlors. Counter-productive. It's bad enough the Costco and BJ gas stations will shutter the gas stations at Four Corners.
Susan Balla May 17, 2012 at 03:44 AM
What do they plan to do with the four gas stations? I don't want to walk around the area smelling gasoline. Commenting on Brookfield Market it needs to go back to be a neighborhood inspot with a pot belly stove. Carl Bordenko and his brothers ran that store with a friendly atmosphere. We need people like that again. I don't see what they are going to do about the Historic District that is at the four corners.
Aaron Boyd (Editor) May 17, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Susan, On the gas stations, the consultants recommended keeping one or two for now, though eventually they suggested businesses that would be more conducive to a pedestrian area, such as shops or a bed and breakfast.
Steven DeVaux May 17, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Good question. Especially with the groundwater contamination and the EPA from Washington now weighing in.
Andrea Saunders May 17, 2012 at 07:35 PM
You have to remember they would not only get our business, but new milfords as well. I think It would be a smart move to have a Trader Joes here. For me driving to the one in Danbury is too far so I never go. But, I would frequent the one here. So yes I think people would still come to ours I think it would do very well.
Andrea Saunders May 17, 2012 at 07:38 PM
The gas stations are where we get the four corners name. I hope they leave the gas stations. I don't think it would hinder the walking area. I think they will make it nice enough that we wont mind walking past the gas stations. I didn't know there was any Historic District in the four corners area. I agree with you about the Brookfield Market. It would be nice to be a market and not a liquor store.
Susan Balla May 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Aaron I don't think the gas stations will want to move. I don't know if anyone remembers there was a dry cleaning establishment on station road that contributed to chemicals leaching into the soil and possible ground water. Also when the Citgo used to be the Flying A station before it went to gulf had a tank that ruptured and gas went underground. Can anyone comment on this. I am going back to the 1950 and 60's. Andrea Brookfield Market put in the liquor store because the store was not making that much money. It was nice when the trains use to stop at the station opposite the store. I go to Maine for vacation and there is a town called Belfast that put in a bypass. Originally there was an Ames store equal to Walmart, and quite a few small stores. After the bypass most of the stores went out of business because no one stopped. I am seeing now that there is not the amount of traffic at the Four Corners so I am wondering if they put in quite a few little stores whether they will make it.
Andrea Saunders May 21, 2012 at 12:16 PM
A STRIP CLUB???? How does that say nice town! No one wants to walk with their family next to a strip club.
Andrea Saunders May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM
I think if we put in a few key stores that bring people in then our town center will thrive. Especially things like Trader Joes or maybe a Jamba Juice or that new ice cream place people keep raving about (we don't have any ice cream places in our town anymore do we?). If you think about it people were complaining about our town park that the money wasn't worth it, but look at all the kids that love it. Last week there were even schools that bussed their kids to our park for their end of year field trip. It is a great park and is loved by everyone.
Willow Houle May 22, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Andrea- This town needs to create jobs and get rid of uptight people like you
Andrea Saunders May 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Willow, I am all for creating jobs, but how is a strip club create jobs more than another store???? and how is that make the town a family atmosphere? And what would that say about our town??? If you look around any town center I can guarantee that none has a strip club unless it is a run down trashy town center that no one wants to walk in for safety reasons. We are trying to create a town center where people want to be and walk and use. Where families will come and shop. I am sorry if you think I am up tight but someone has to be in order to keep trash out of our town center and keep this place a good place for families. I guarantee that if we put a strip club in our town center that we will get less people visiting our town center. It has to be an area that everyone (including up tight people like me and many others with my values) would want their families going to.
Katherine Daniel May 29, 2012 at 12:42 PM
You are absolutely right. That would be my conclusion as well, although I believe Whole Foods and Trader Joes were given as examples of small format grocers that would do well in our market. There are a number of local grocers that might consider the Four Corners for a new store.
Katherine Daniel May 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Please see the town Land Use Department webpage for the draft plan: http://www.brookfieldct.gov/Pages/BrookfieldCT_LandUse/index
Katherine Daniel May 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I mistakenly hit "flag as inappropriate" at the end of this string, but what I meant to do was comment that strip clubs are not permitted in the Town Center District, the area we call the Four Corners, so how about the sports bar!
Katherine Daniel May 29, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I like the idea of recreating the old market atmosphere that the Bordenko's apparently had. A number of the buildings in the Four Corners area - also formerly called the Iron Works District - are historic, but there is no Historic District as such. That is in Brookfield Center where Center School is. As to the groundwater contamination issue, according to the CT DEEP's List of Contaminated or Potentially Contaminated Sites (http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/site_clean_up/sites/sites_a-f.pdf) there are a number of leaking underground storage tanks at the gas stations and at the former dry cleaners among other locations. The effect of these on the water consumed by area residents and businesses has been mitigated by the provision of public water supplies down Federal Road.
Steven DeVaux June 03, 2012 at 11:28 AM
WIth Brookfield locked out of buying additional sewage capactity in Danbury (see the News Times articles on it) and no capacity for sale in New Milford, what are the consultants plans for the millions of gallons of water being imported from New Milford? Where's the "processed water" going to go? Is a sewage treatment plant planned? Have you sniffed the calm morning air some mornings around Four Corners? Sounds like this report was long on nice and short on solutions for the methane crisis with Brookfield hitting it's capacity with it's Danbury contract and Danbury's 10 year plan for Economic Development calling for Danbury to use all it's remaining capacity for more stores.
Steven DeVaux June 04, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Susan, But Brookfield has the largest Goodwill Super Store in New England currently!
Steven DeVaux June 05, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Susan, While Brookfield now buys millions of gallons of water from New Milford to deal with the toxic ground underneath Four Corners, any development that intends to dig etc. would be required to correct it first. Worse, with all that additional water coming from New Milford, and no sewers to carry it away (Danbury and New Milford both have said they do not wish to sell Brookfield any additional gallonage capacity) where's it all going to go? The has no autority to force Danbury or New Milford to take Brookfield's sewage and the Still River already has nitrogren levels that exceed allowable levels...the last thing Danbury wants is to sell capacity when their own new economic development (Whole Foods, etc) will require it. They would unwind that contract with Brookfield if they could so their infrastructure could grow unimpeded. Besides the smell of gasoline in the soil, there clearly is the growing issue of the methane gas and solids.
Steven DeVaux November 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Well it's been six months and all Brookfield has to show for it is two condo complexes going in. Great development plan. It took a $250,000 Steap grant for those development decisions.
Andrew Turkenkopf November 24, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Hire people to create and maintain trails. Buy Candlewood lake, drain it, make more trails. Hiker utopia!

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