Dunbar Oaks subdivision finished; new subdivision, designed to look like Dunbar Oaks, planned

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As construction on one Waukesha subdivision wraps up, plans for another are now coming to fruition.

Just days before two families moved into the homes, at 325 and 327 Bethesda Ave., they helped build in the Dunbar Oaks neighborhood – about a block and a half southwest of downtown – the city's plan commission approved preliminary plans for a new subdivision at former site of a now-demolished manufacturing plant.

The Dunbar Oaks residence, a two-unit condominium built by Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County, is the final of eight homes in that neighborhood, which itself was part of an urban revitalization program launched in 2010 in partnership between Habitat, Waukesha and other builders.

Plans call for the houses in the new neighborhood, situated in the 400 block of Oakland Avenue on the city's east side, to resemble the ones in Dunbar Oaks.

'Life-changing'

About 85 people, including local officials and aldermen, celebrated the completion of Dunbar Oaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Feb. 25 outside the new condo. The neighborhood sits on land that once housed the YWCA.

"This is the pinnacle of months of work," said Diane McGeen, Habitat's local executive director. "(The family's lives) are going to change once they own a home, so it makes it so exciting."

According to Habitat, a total of 487 volunteers – including the new home owners – contributed about 8,600 hours of work on the two homes.

RiverGlen Christian Church, S31 W30601 Sunset Drive, was a major financial sponsor of the project, the church said. RiverGlen members also helped build the homes, volunteering 21 times.

Volunteers from another area business, Milwaukee Tool, also contributed to the project, Habitat said, and the company donated thousands of dollars of tools as well.

New subdivision

Days earlier, on Feb. 22, the Waukesha Plan Commission approved a rezoning petition and a certified survey map for a new 18-lot subdivision at the former site of Aeroshade Inc., 433 Oakland Ave.

According to city staff and planning documents, virtually all the 2,200-square foot single-family residences will be two-story, bungalow-style homes, and range in price from about $285,000 to $340,000.

The homes will essentially be built to the same specifications as the homes in Dunbar Oaks, said city Community Development Specialist Jeff Fortin.

Officially, the commission recommended approval of a zoning change to the Aeroshade property from manufacturing to multifamily residential, and a certified survey map for the new subdivision. The common council will have the final word on both items.

"I think that this whole thing is just wonderful," said commissioner Joan Francoeur.

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