Second opinion sought on clinic design
Mequon Plan Commission asks for work on exterior

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

April 16, 2015

MEQUON — Developers of a Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin clinic and members of the Mequon Planning Commission continued to wrangle over the appearance of the proposed clinic Monday.

After initially rejecting a proposed building design because some commissioners wanted more brick used, the commission voted unanimously several minutes later to direct city staff to work with the developers to reach a compromise that involved more brick on the exterior of the 42,500-square-foot building planned for the corner of Mequon Road and Market Street.

After a 90-minute-long discussion, commissioners initially rejected the building and site plan on a 4-4 vote. Commissioners LeRoy Bessler, David Fuchs, James Schaeffer and Pat Marchese voted no.

Representatives from the Ryan Companies, the developer of the $10 million CHW clinic, have been before the Planning Commission in February, March and April. They returned this time with revised plans that incorporated some elements in the roof design to address feedback from prior meetings.

“It fits in nicely with some of the other architecture in the area,” said Jac Zader, Mequon’s assistant director of community development, as he updated the project for the commissioners.

Commissioners appeared to like the changes in the roof, but several continued to express concern about the materials used in the design of the building, particularly a siding material called EIFS. It is described on an industry website as “a non-load bearing, exterior wall cladding system that consists of an insulation board attached either adhesively or mechanically, or both, to the substrate; an integrally reinforced base coat; and a textured protective finish coat.”

Representatives from Ryan said they already had dug into the contingency budget for the project with the changes in the roof design. Changing the exterior to all brick would add about $100,000 to the cost, they said.

After the commission rejected the design, Marchese offered an alternative that would allow staff to work with the developers to find a compromise that improved the appearance of the building and would reduce the amount of EIFS used. If staff and the developers reach agreement, the design plans will not come back to the planning commission for further action.

Several residents who live in the vicinity of the proposed clinic spoke during the meeting and voiced concerns about the possibility of additional water draining onto their property, increased traffic, the impact of lights in the parking lot and noise from air conditioning units.

Ryan representatives said the clinic property will be at a slightly lower elevation than surrounding residents and that water runoff will go into a planned retention pond between the building and Mequon Road that is designed to accommodate the largest rainfall in the past 100 years.

Mayor Dan Abendroth said there are no accommodations for drainage on the now-undeveloped property. He said the development will “greatly improve the drainage in this neighborhood.”

With regard to the noise concerns, Commissioner Brian Parrish said he also lives in the neighborhood and sympathizes with the concerns voiced by neighbors. He also noted that the clinic will be a 9-to-5 operation that will likely have less of an impact than other potential uses.

“I feel this benefits the community more than some apartment buildings,” he said.

City staff and Ryan representatives both said they would prefer to see a traffic signal installed at the intersection of Mequon Road and Market Street, but said the state Department of Transportation has rejected requests.

A Ryan representative said their building would have to expand to five stories and 100,000 square feet before the DOT would approve the traffic light.

“It’s kind of silly for us to talk about it if we can’t do anything about it,” Abendroth said.

During the planned discussions about the materials that will be used on the exterior of the building, city staff and the Ryan representatives will be joined by Schaeffer, a planning commission member who also is an architect.

Gary Achterberg can be reached at .