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Residents Overwhelmingly Approve Four Corners Consultant

Voters agree to use $75,000 from grant to study TCD development.

The 174 Brookfield residents and property owners in attendance at Thursday’s special town meeting overwhelming approved hiring a planning consultant to develop a vision for the Town Center District (TCD). When the question was called, a rush of hands went up in favor and only a handful were raised afterward in dissent.

The resolution gives the Board of Selectmen (BOS) approval to hire a consulting firm to lead the planning process for the commercial district surrounding the intersection of Federal Road and Route 25, commonly known as Four Corners. The $75,000 for the consultant will be offset by a grant from the Small Towns Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) for use in developing the Four Corners area.

The development grant is only a portion of . The money was earmarked for “streetscape” improvements to the area, i.e. sidewalks, benches, lighting and parking.

“We can’t begin to install those kind of amenities until we have a clue of what things are going to look like and where things are going to go,” First Selectman Bill Davidson said, explaining the need for a plan.

“Where would you put a parking lot in Four Corners right now?” he asked, “Someone has to figure out where could a parking lot go, how could cars get in and out of there.”

The proposal to use a portion of the grant for a consultant was of this year, 28-32, however Davidson had vowed to bring it back to a second town meeting .

“New England government is supposed to be participatory and tonight it certainly is,” Davidson said of the large crowd that gathered at the high school to vote. “I’ve been to town meetings where there’s two or three people, so this is a delight to see.”

Davidson explained that the “overarching reason” to develop a professional plan for the TCD is “to provide a blueprint to people who want to put money into Four Corners to explain what the town’s expectations are… When developers ask, ‘what are you looking for,’ we need to have a good answer for them.”

With the town meeting’s approval, the BOS can move ahead with selecting a planner. A four-member committee is , which received high praise from the committee and town planners for focusing on the need for public input. 

Melissa Y November 18, 2011 at 12:51 PM
I was unable to attend the meeting but very happy to hear this was approved. I don't necessarily agree with the town politics but this this a step in the right direction for Brookfield.
Drew Turkenkopf November 18, 2011 at 12:59 PM
You know what this town needs? A Monorail. North Haverbrook has one.
Conservative Brookfield Resident November 18, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I thought that the $250,000 grant received from the State was earmarked for the Kids Kingdom project and that was reason for moving forward with that project. Did that project amazingly come in under budget somehow or is is not paid for yet and if not paid for yet, how will we make up that difference?
Katherine Daniel November 18, 2011 at 02:26 PM
I'm so excited to see all the comments and learn of the great turn-out at last night's meeting. As the Land Use office's Community Development Director I will have the pleasure of coordinating these efforts with our consultants and town's people. If you would like to be on our emailing list please send an email to LandUse@brookfieldct.gov and with the subject line "Four Corners" and thanks for your interest and ideas. Katherine Daniel
Jerry Friedrich November 18, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Interesting comment !
Drew Turkenkopf November 18, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Buy candlewood, drain it. Parking and trails.
Valentine W. Riordan II November 18, 2011 at 03:38 PM
What exactly is the thinking on the four gas stations currently occupying and dominating the Four Corners intersection. Can you say "eye soar"! I'm not suggesting we get rid of them all, but do we really need four gas stations anchoring our "town center". Surely that can't a serious outlook for our Town Center.
Aaron Boyd (Editor) November 18, 2011 at 05:30 PM
CBR: This is a different $250,000 grant specifically for local commercial development. The Kids Kingdom grant was separate and earmarked solely for the park.
Steven DeVaux November 19, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Have you contacted the EPA folks out of region 1 in Boston? I can give you the names and numbers since a town official should be involved in the investigations no?
Steven DeVaux November 19, 2011 at 01:24 AM
They have every right to be there. They are grandfathered as any competent zoning official would tell you. They call it a "bypass" because Rt 7 now "bypasses" Brookfield. Tear up the road and put in community gardens. There's no traffic there. Read the traffic studies the STC has. DOA.
Steven DeVaux November 19, 2011 at 09:24 AM
Has the EPA been contacted? This sounds clearly like a Brownfield's site which means they need to come in and test for things like dry cleaning chemicals at 20 Station road, oils by the bowling alley, heavy metals around Station Road, etc. Bob you make a good serious point about a large potential public health problem. Let's contact the EPA if the Selectman haven't already done the due diligence and get the investigations going. Those Brownfield ones take 20 years depending on whats found and the remediation plans necessary as well as completed before the EPA will sign off. The feds should do it as the state is broke. They can send a copy of the lab results and reports of how far plumes, etc have gone. My goodness, this is a disaster in the making. Are the consultants going to handle this first so that no other plans are made that could cost millions and millions to clean up before the state will allow land transfers? Has anyone contacted the state on it? They have SPECIFIC LAWS regarding hazardeous land sites being transfered. Oh my. This could clearly be worse than the asbestos issue and far more costly. At least public health will be protected and lord knows everyone wants that I'm certain. At least the gas stations have begun their environmental cleanup over the last 30 years due to their leaks and ground water contamination. The heavy metals issue is far worse. People should be grateful for this coming out now. Have cancer screenings been done for this area? Studies?
Steven DeVaux November 19, 2011 at 09:31 AM
Renee, Danbury is far more the economic jaugernaut than Brookfield could ever be. Their downtown group is focused and has much more in terms of support like Danbury Savings and Loan, Union Savings, etc. who have economic vitality compared to failed ventures like the Brookfield Bank. It takes a critical mass of geographics, demographics and economics for success and that just isn't present in the that area. Newtown, Bethel and New Milford are centuries ahead in terms of working that. Once Candlewood Lake goes private, Kent is going to have more appeal than Brookfield as a destination.
Bob McGarrah November 19, 2011 at 05:58 PM
September 29, 2010 by Aaron Boyd: Read the last sentence. This is the fifth STEAP grant Brookfield has been awarded in the last six years, the first four totaling $2 million, "Utilized for the most part for water infrastructure" in the TCD, Scribner said. "You weren't going to get any developers or investors if you have contaminated water." This year's STEAP grant will likely be used to make the TCD more pedestrian-friendly, though the funding could be put toward any economic development initiative.
Steven DeVaux November 19, 2011 at 11:05 PM
There is heavy metal as well as VOC brownfield contamination and it should be MANDATED in order to go "green" from "brown" that in order for any disturbance of earth to take place whatsoever, the entire parcel be expunged of all know carciogens to a depth of 30'. It's the LAW in Connecticut. Check it out. Scribner should know. In order for transfer title it's the LAW that the DIRT not be contaminated. Let's go to town hall and see how many transfers have occured for commerical businesses in the 4 corners district and how many of them did the mandatory testing before town hall let them transfer the problem to a NEW owner. It time the feds earn their keep and help insure that Brookfield landowners in the 4 corners district follow the letter of the law to prevent current landowners from getting out of expensive cleanups that, by law, are required before the town is permitted to transfer title.
Ryen April 09, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Huh???
Ryen April 09, 2012 at 08:10 PM
ONE: At least two/three of the gas stations must go or be re-located. ONLY alternative is to create a "new" "major intersection" in the area that's not where the gas stations are. The gas stations could theoretically be kept/"camouflaged" & walkways& spaces created around them--but only in a scheme where the "center" intersection (think Focal Point) is moved to a new location(like the re-construction New Milford did around the fire station/Dunkin Donuts/liquor store area)--but much TIME, planning,& MONEY go into that. TWO: Steve DeVaux makes EXCELLENT points that environmental concerns & cleanup of such an old area are ESSENTIAL/CRUCIAL; not fielding that consideration is absurd--I ASSUME the consultants are that smart??? Only issue is cost & any cleanup or negative impact on a workable plan. THREE: Monorail is a great idea, but that's "icing on a cake": planned for, but saved until more basic things are addressed; if the TCD area doesn't become a "DESTINATION" at MINIMUM for weekenders & families & shoppers/active people, then it will FAIL economically--as suggested above. Process must be COMPREHENSIVE. FOUR: Bike paths and stroller/walking paths and jogging paths--fitness stations MUST be incorporated--as well as joined w/ a "greenway" tied in THROUGH THE WHOLE area that joins it up with the Still River (with future connections to New Milford and Danbury). FIVE (summary): EPA/cleanup issue MUST occur. VISUALIZE a "city block design" to the area that MOVES FOCAL POINT!
Ryen April 09, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Gert creative! FIRST: If EPA issues are not addressed, nothing else should proceed! TWO: VISION! The Focal Point for the area should NOT be the gas station intersection--that is a "false premise". The gas station intersection--with one or two gas stations ELIMINATED or out of business--should be a tertiary--or at best secondary intersection to the spot--and camouflaged and spruced up and surrounded with gardens, park areas, and creative "blemish cover". Establish a town block grid that will make better use of and tie together the rest of the district.... MUST be a slow and well-supported and well thought out process and a DESTINATION spot for weekenders and even vacationers (close to Candlewood Lake) or it will be a failure. I see no mention of a ELECTRIC (quiet, green) SHUTTLE vehicle SERVICE joined with a large parking garage set AWAY from the focal and aesthetic CENTERS--think at least two focal points on each side AWAY from the literal 4 corners gas stations.... :)
Ryen April 09, 2012 at 08:42 PM
A plan that limits itself to keeping the present "4 corners" as the centerpiece will likely FAIL for a multitude of reasons...and by the way guys: it is "EYE SORE" (not soar) and "juggernaut". Downtown Danbury is NO economic juggernaut in my mind. We want an economic ATTRACTION like a big box store WAY OUT towards Super 7 -- one BOOKEND to the area, nowhere near where all the "nice" parts will be. 1. TIED to Green River Greenway/Park 2. Town block design; 3. New focal points; 4. EPA/water/historic homework done and addressed; 5. VISION--all the BEST ideas that can be found and all the best lessons learned from around the world in development 6. BLENDS in with town character and historic district in "look and feel"--can still be modern and accomplish a tradtional "feel" if done right. 7. Traditional parking with one large parking garage SET AWAY from focal points with electric shuttle service, walkways and parks and GREEN throughout area. Think Freeport, Maine on a smaller, greener, more relaxed, spacious scale and a Hyannis/Provincetown/Cape Cod small town center feel with one way roads and "blocks"--incorporate all the "good" already there--much nice along the stretch already--just needs "polishing", updating, additions.
Beverage Guy April 09, 2012 at 10:34 PM
OK, this comment is coming from someone who left Brookfield, and after reading the comments here, I am thinking I am glad I did. First, let's use the lakes as an attraction. I would stay off the lakes 30 years ago because of the uncaring people on them on the weekends then made them dangerous. I am sure it is worse now. Next, A Monorail? Be real. To where? I am not sure if they have leveled all the hills in town, but monorails do better on flat ground. Which brings up the electric shuttle. They do just great on hills too. Two trips up Mountain Road to bring the weekenders to the lake and it is dead, only to be recharged by the coal burning electric plants you dislike. And, of course, lets 'hide' the gas stations and 'pretend' they are not there. I read these comments and start to think there is more of a drug issue among the taxpayers than in the high school.
Beverage Guy April 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Val, News Flash, the gas stations have been there longer than the traffic lights. Welcome to Brookfield, newbie.
Conservative Brookfield Resident April 10, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Right on Beverage Guy....we don't need the monorail, seems we're already in Fantasyland. I can see getting some new businesses in town but why do away with thriving businesses that are already helping Brookfield's tax revenue? How are we going to accommodate all the people coming to see all the attractions? I don't see any hotels going up in town and frankly, I don't want it. I moved to Brookfield over 10 years ago because I liked the Town the way it is and for what Brookfield had to offer --- a nice quiet town with enough conveniences around and a good school system far enough from the cities and crowds. Now it seems like some people here want to bring in the crowds. There are still other issues that need to be addressed with Brookfield before we go and start turning it into another Bethel or Ridgefield. Let's continue getting the roads paved, fixing up the schools and how about getting everyone in Town on a water/sewer system? These are a few examples of capital improvements.
Ryen April 12, 2012 at 01:35 PM
There is nothing inherently wrong with an intersection with 4 gas stations. It simply has outlived its usefulness as a center for cars to re-fuel--there was NEVER a NEED for FOUR stations--even in the busiest times. One or two are ALMOST always empty, and always have been, except for the old "rush hour" times that are long gone. Most importantly, an intersection with FOUR gas stations simply does not fit in with the current NEED or WANT for a Town Center and destination for Brookfield. If they stay, then new focal points must be created on either side of them (south and north sides).
Ryen April 12, 2012 at 01:42 PM
OK. Well, maybe there is good news here--we are losing the right people from our town! ;) First mistake you made: The monorail idea is geared towards the new Town District--it is a "pie in the ski", brainstorming type idea. You are obviously unfamiliar with that approach. Second problem: The monorail was presented for the Four Corners--maybe extend to Federal Road and the new Route 7 Bypass-- LOL WHERE are the "hills" along that passage? And buddy, can you have electric shuttles with ONE vehicle with gas that does the "Lake Route" and the few others handle the Four Corners and the Federal Road connections? What sort of "beverages" do you deliver, by the way?? LOL And if you LEFT Brookfield, then why are you so interested in IDEAS (only) for the future of the town? REALLY curious! LOL Maybe work on your "new town"....
Ryen April 12, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Who said anywhere to "do away with businesses"? Seems that YOU are the one in "fantasy land"--to quote your own words. Where did anyone say "do away with businesses? This is a forum for discussing ideas--and by the way, there are many kinds of conservatives--not only ones with limited ideas. TWO: To see WHAT attractions? Did anyone mention building an amusement park? I must have missed that comment? We are talking about ECONOMIC and TOWN PLANNING, revitalizing a newly re-defined and SMALL section of town, and looking at all sorts of ideas and goals. This is a 5 YEAR or 10 YEAR vision to start--not a pending ground breaking next year. No "crowds" are ever going to come to Brookfield. I, myself, am against that. I agree with you that "the powers that be"--like the real estate interests in town, in cahoots with the First Selectman--will probably BUNGLE this as they have DESTROYED the Federal Road corridor with over-development and poor planning and wasted retail and office space that goes unused and is ugly. But, at least here we can DREAM that they might do something right, huh? And in the process decrease our dependence on home owners paying all the taxes maybe??? We should be able to be BETTER than Bethel or Ridgefield in terms of a PLANNED, spacious Town Center District on a smaller, more SPREAD scale--and still get the rest of the town paved and up to snuff....
Beverage Guy April 12, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Damn Ryen, Judging by your post, I must have 'hit a nerve'. Either that, or you don't take constructive criticism well as you are one that feels that only your ideas are correct. Oh, and a direct dig on me, I am SO hurt by that. If what is left in town is people that think money is the answer, and we can buy anything, so be it. Sorry, but I tend to be a realist, not one into 'pipe dreams'. OK, the monorail, what is the purpose of such an expense. Such a short distance, maybe you could walk rather than wait for a ride, unless walking is beyond your ability. Next, 'pie in the ski'? I used to ski, but never with a pie. I found with snow skiing, it got cold too quick, and with water skiing, it got soggy. I saved that for the apres ski gathering in the lodge, or when I had dinner after departing the boat. I , by the way, am totally familiar with ideas, just not unrealistic, see how much money we can spend ideas. The 'lake route'.....just what I am sure all the Brookfielder's that use the lake want, more inconsiderate people there that only show up on weekends. As stated, they made it dangerous on weekends 30 yrs ago. Next, your 'beverage' comment, I dealt with non-alcoholic beverage, so what I did will not not be generate income from folks like you except for your mixers (two can play the suggestive criticism game). Continued Below....
Beverage Guy April 12, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Continued... I still follow the town as I have friends and family that I have conversations with so I try to know what I am talking about. As far as working on my 'new town' as you call it. Yes, I am involved and one of my main contributions is to show where Brookfield made mistakes, so we don't make the same. As they say, history repeats itself.
Beverage Guy April 12, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Ryen, I believe it is you that said 'do away with business' To quote you 'The gas station intersection--with one or two gas stations ELIMINATED or out of business' and 'At least two/three of the gas stations must go'. That sure sounds like doing away with businesses to me. Maybe I am misinterpreting though. You, Ryen, seem to be VERY open to ideas, as long as they are yours as it seems you only want discussion with people that agree with you. The great 'idea' behind the 'BUNGLE' of Federal Road was to decrease the tax burden you speak of. How well did that work for you, or was that before your time? And, with no crowds, which I can actually agree with you on, why do you need a monorail and electric vehicles? The adults, as well as the high school students will all be driving their SUV's and European cars. Brookfielder's have not been not known for taking public transit. So we can watch the monorail and the electric vehicles ride around empty. If nothing else, CL&P probably LOVES the idea. They can make up some of the revenue they lost when Kimberly Clarke added their own electric production 25 years ago.
Comic Book Guy April 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
re: Monorail D'Oh! Clearly you guys don't watch the Simpsons. The monorail was from someone trolling. In the episode, the town gets $3 million from Mr. Burns' EPA mess. Marge's idea is to revitalize Main Street (sound familiar?). However, the town is duped by a conman through the power of song to build a dangerous and useless monorail. Homer is made the conductor and hilarity ensues. The End. A lot can be learned from this episode in fact- 1) No one will agree on what to do with the money/downtown area unless duped by a conman using the power of song. 2) Monorails are only good for Epcot and airports and 3) Most people are gullible and susceptible to trolling. On a more serious note, I agree that the chemical/water problem is essential to take care of. Having worked at a couple businesses in the Four Corners area, it was no secret that the water had more heavy metal than Metallica. Ignoring this problem will only wreak havoc on future generations. With that said, I'm not holding my breathe for Brookfield to get a downtown area. Though it is nice to think about, reality sets in when you realize local politics is no different (and often worse) than what happens on Capitol Hill. Call me a pessimist, but no one will agree on what to do with the money/downtown area (including and especially residents) and as a result time will pass and the opportunity will be lost from those with deeper pockets, more speed, and less industrial waste to dig up.
Becky Carvell April 20, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Love it!! But would Marge approve?
Steven DeVaux April 20, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Comic Book Guy, I forwarded your comments on to the EPA's Region 1 office in Boston. Public health should be priority #1. After all, they are proposing inspecting your local massage parlors/nail saloon/barbers in Brookfield. If they are concerned about that, they should be outraged at the heavy metal/VOC contaiminations located at the Four Korners. Politics should never enter where public health is held as a hostage. Danbury sets great examples of that. Perhaps Brookfield can change it's ways and begin to concentrate on life sustaining issues.

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