Calhoun Concerned Community

Calhoun Concerned Community

 

The Concerned Calhoun Community has requested the Alderman Candidates in districts 5 & 6 to respond to a survey of four questions.  While we wait for these to be published on their listserve, I'd like to share my response to their questions. I'm grateful for the CCC in creating political discourse so we can Build Together.  Below, you will see my answers to their four questions.


Q: The CCC main purpose is to preserve the quality of life in the South Calhoun Rd area neighborhoods.  How will you preserve the quality of life and property values of our neighborhoods?


Heather's response:

In a properly established plan, quality of life and property values of our neighborhoods should go hand-in-hand. 

These questions center around knowing our neighbors, looking out for our community, and advocating for our collective needs to the City.

Quality of life begins with getting to know our neighbors.  For example, in my own little cul-de-sac on Adelmann Court, our neighbors have regular gatherings with a summer picnic, Holiday gathering, Chili Super, and my own family will be hosting a Spring gathering.  Through regular get-togethers with our neighbors, 'home' extends beyond our front door.  When we come home from work we see and greet one other.  We know one another my name (or, if not by name, at least by the homes we come from or the children/pets who live in the homes).   We have a Facebook page and share phone numbers for those who aren't on FB.  This is important when safety issues have arisen.  This is a benefit when we consider our property values. Prospective buyers see a vibrant and friendly community- not simply a housing structure in a great city.  This is a place I am proud to call home.  The fact that I feel this way, illustrates a certain measure of the quality of life in my neighborhood.


In regards to quality of life, my neighbors in the Calhoun Community and throughout the 6th district, have expressed some concerns about rapid overdevelopment and loss of green spaces. I'd like to expand the green space and recreational opportunity to further develop our community.  For instance, I'd like to see community gardens. I'd support friendly neighborhood beautification competitions.  One great source of pride in my neighborhood is the “secret path” that leads to a beautiful walkway.  We are fortunate in the Calhoun district to have so many parks and recreational opportunities.   But I hear my neighbors asking for more. And why not?  They are asking for safe places to walk.  They want to know their neighbors and come home to a neighbor to live, work and play.

We have so much talent. We have working professionals, stay at home parents, seniors, children, and youth. We have the manpower and desire to Build Together.


Q: Do you support an I-94 and Calhoun Rd Interchange?  Please explain your answer.


Heather's response:

When examining these big issues, we must address who will benefit and who will be hurt.

To (potentially) benefit:

1) Businesses in our immediate neighborhood which may garner more traffic from entering/exiting drivers

2)  Potential reduction of traffic on Bluemound Road by people traveling the length of Bluemound to get onto the highway.

 

Those who (potentially) are harmed:

1) Neighbors affected by increased traffic entering and exiting by our neighborhood

2) Safety concerns- Swanson Elementary School, City parks

3) Noise concerns of neighbors

4) What would happen to the green spaces along the exit/entrance ramps?

5) Property values decrease for the potential increase in crimes (home break-ins by a highway entrance).

6) Businesses may lose business on outskirts of Bluemound from traffic utilizing this ramp.

 

I recognize the value to assist the business and reduce the traffic. However, the good does not outweigh the bad.  Therefore, I do not believe our neighbors would support such a plan.


Q: It is easy for anyone to recognize the intersection at Calhoun Rd and Golf Parkway has excessive street light illumination.  The City made one attempt to reduce the light level, yet this intersection is still significantly brighter than similar and larger intersections.  The lighting does not meet WisDOT recommended guidelines (street lights should be in the same post as the center median stop lights).  The illumination level is significantly brighter than other stop light intersections with LED lighting.  Since the street lighting is already installed, are you OK with leaving them as is, or would you advocate the City correct the problem?  If yes, how would you do this?  If no, also give an explanation. 


Heather's response:

This is unfortunate that the lighting is not in line with WisDOT recommended guidelines and this adversely affects members of this community.  Light pollution is an important concern.  According to Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light Pollution,  “Light pollution comes in many forms… (including) Light trespass (which) occurs when unwanted artificial light from…streetlight spills onto an adjacent property, lighting an area that would otherwise be dark.”  This article goes onto explain the health risks to humans from light pollution (e.g. disruption of sleep) as well as to the natural environment (e.g. premature budding of trees) and adverse effect on wildlife.  While it is difficult to determine the extent of the damage to our local citizens and wildlife, it is easy to understand how this lighting is decreasing our neighbors’ quality of life.  While it may be painful to admit a past error, for the benefit our neighbors, our community and our quality of life, mistakes should be corrected.

So, yes, this is a situation which can be further mitigated. This can be done in one of 4 ways: 1) complying with WisDOT standards 2) replacing the existing structure with LED/ wattage 3) replace with low-pressure sodium (LPS) lights and/or 4) adjusting the lighting so that we reduce the horizontal light trespass interfering with our quality of life.


Q: TIF funding for business development is a tool available to all municipalities via State of Wisconsin Statutes.

Overall, the TIF funding reduces the taxes paid by new business development, shifting the tax burden to present businesses and residential taxpayers.  Yet without TIF funding, Brookfield may lose new business development to surrounding municipalities.

In your opinion, should the City...

1.    be more active in using TIF funding to promote business growth?

2.    stay at the same level of TIF funding?

3.    reduce the amount of TIF funding?


Heather's response:

TIF funding is a resource for blighted areas.  I don’t see Brookfield as a blighted area.   When the proper needs are identified for Brookfield to take advantage of state funds, then we should take advantage of these funds. But if it is improper of state funds, even if it is for a short-term gain, it should be scrutinized heavily.

If we wish to attract new businesses to our community, we should find more creative ways to do so than to utilize TIF funds outside of their intended use.

 

Thank you again to the CCC for their valuable questions. If you have any unanswered questions, please reach out to Heather  

Posted on 29 Mar 2018, 20:50 - Category: Media

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