Back when the zoning promotional campaign was starting, Brookfield Township Zoning Committee Chairman Todd Fencyk said he was looking forward to more people voting in the Nov. 6 election, and he hoped that the additional people resulted in more votes for zoning.
While the first part of the equation played out as he had hoped, the second didn’t.
The numbers certainly were up in terms of turnout. On Nov. 6, 3,594 people cast votes on the zoning issue, compared with 2,303 a year before.
But, whereas 49.6 percent of voters gave zoning the nod in 2017, only 43 percent answered affirmatively this year.
In fact, zoning advocates lost a precinct, Precinct D, which runs between Brookfield Avenue and Stateline Road and Warren Sharon Road and Addison Road.
Only one precinct voted for zoning this time around, Precinct K, which includes the Valley View and Brookfield Estates residential developments, the east side of Brookfield Center, the Golf Drive area, the east side of Route 7 between Route 62 and Yankee Lake, and Custer Orangeville Road from Route 7 to Yankee Run Road. Here, it was emphatic: 433 yes votes against 294 no votes.
Trustee Dan Suttles said he had “mixed feelings” about the outcome.
“As a resident, I believe 100 percent that our town would be better with zoning,” he said, and he would vote for it any time it was put on the ballot.
As a trustee, however, he said he doesn’t want to keep putting an issue on the ballot hoping factors line up so that it passes. As long as he’s a trustee, Suttles said, he will not support putting zoning on the ballot again.
“The people have spoken up that they don’t want zoning,” he said.
Trustee Gary Lees said he accepts that the people of Brookfield don’t want zoning, and he’s ready to move on.
“If this is what the people want, let it be,” Lees said. “I’m giving my energies to other projects in this township.”
Projects such as the Neighborhood Revitalization Grant project proposed for lower Masury. The current board of trustees is “progressive” and has worked well with county and state officials in the past, Lees said. That coalition of officials is crucial to getting projects done, he said.
Trustee Ron Haun declined to comment.
With Precinct K coming out so favorably for zoning, there has been talk as to whether there should be an effort to adopt zoning only within the boundaries of that precinct.
Zoning may be placed on the ballot by a resolution of the trustees on their own initiative, or by a trustee resolution that follows a petition presented by residents who meet specific criteria. The petition must be signed by qualified voters who tally at least 8 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election and live in the subject area where zoning is proposed.
Lees said he would support a ballot referendum for zoning in part of the township if residents in the area show a strong interest in it, and a sufficient number of them would be willing to work toward getting such a voting referendum passed.
“The people have to want it,” he said.
Suttles said he is against such a scenario. Having two different sets of rules in the township would divide the community even further than it already is, he said.
“It (zoning) should be for the whole township or not at all,” Suttles said.
The Brookfield Zoning Committee will hold a wrap-up meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in the township administration building, 6844 Strimbu Drive.
Brookfield Township final vote tallies for the proposed zoning resolution:
Precinct A: 389 no votes and 219 yes votes.
Precinct B: 293 no votes and 202 yes votes.
Precinct D: 245 no votes and 173 yes votes.
Precinct E: 286 no votes and 206 yes votes.
Precinct H: 332 no votes and 196 yes votes.
Precinct K: 294 no votes and 433 yes votes.
Precinct L: 199 no votes and 127 yes votes.