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Waukesha Plan Commission puts Clearwater Apartments project on hold

Alderman expresses his concerns at Wednesday's meeting

Feb. 19, 2014

After more than an hour discussion with neighbors and developers for the project, the Waukesha Plan Commission put the proposed Clearwater Apartments on hold Wednesday night. 

The city's planning department recommended approval for the preliminary site and architectural plans for 71-residential units on 8.53 acres along Clearwater Lane at Stillwater Circle in the River's Crossing subdivision. 

The proposal is for two 18-unit buildings, one 19-unit complex and four, four-unit townhouses, City of Waukesha Planner Doug Koehler said at the meeting. 

He said the developers have been "very sensitive about how they laid out this site."

This includes adding a large storm water pond after the developers worked closely with the city's Water Utility Department.

But after neighbors and the alderman who represents this area expressed concerns, Mayor Jeff Scrima made the motion to put the development on hold so all parties can work toward a "compromise."

Scrima asked if more community outreach can be done by the developers.

"I believe this would provide the developer and the alderman and neighbors to further discuss what’s been brought up and work together for a final solution so we can be much more comfortable in our decision," Scrima said.

Alderman Aaron Perry, who represents constituents where the apartments would be built, stated what his concerns were after talking to many neighbors in this area. 

The four areas he highlighted include the excess traffic the development would create, the flooding that already exists in this area, how bringing more apartments impacts the housing mix in the city. Along this route, Perry also said it's more of a benefit to have single-family homes or condos to better help the tax base.

The final item related to the emergency response time for services, as the proposed development is on the city's far southwest side. This area is just within the fire department's seven-minute response time but Perry still said it's a concern.

Perry said after talking to many residents in this subdivision that it's not a 'not in my-backyard type of argument.'

"It’s about finishing a large neighborhood an ideal way," Perry said.

Abby Brzezinski, A-Squared Development LLC's registered agent, said they've done "extensive studies" on the water concerns and have revised their plans to include extra landscape and extensive vegetation.

Koehler said the developers have also made concessions from three to four story apartments to two. 

Brzezinski added in regard to the traffic concern that the plan for this subdivision included multi-family (the proposed area is zoned multi-family) and said "multi-family tax dollars is the same as single-family."

When asked if the developer would consider condos instead of rental units, Brzezinski said she wouldn't see a scenario where that would occur.

"We don’t feel there’s a market for that right now," Brzezinski said. "The condo market is not feasible in the near term." 

The Plan Commission also wanted access to a water report for this area and also an update on the city's ratio of single-family homes vs. multi-family (target is 65 percent single-family and 35 percent multi-family).

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