Mequon seeing housing growth spurt
More than 200 homes possible

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

Nov. 18, 2014

MEQUON — Over the past few years, new housing starts ground to a halt in Mequon and other surrounding communities, thanks to the economic slowdown.

In just the past few months, however, a miniboom in proposed new home construction has hit Mequon. In meetings last week, city officials discussed three separate planned developments that eventually could bring well over 200 new single-family homes to the city.

Here are the details:

■ The Mequon Common Council on Nov. 11 unanimously approved zoning changes for a 56-home development of single-family homes in the 10700 and 10800 blocks of North Wauwatosa roads.

■ The night before, the city’s planning commission discussed another 76-home proposal in the 10600 block of North Wauwatosa Road that is being advanced by the same developer, Veridian Homes, an established Madison-area homebuilder that recently has proposed several projects in the Milwaukee area.

■ Mequon’s assistant director of community development told planning commission members on Nov. 10 that the Mequon-Thiensville School District has reached a “tentative agreement” for the sale of a 112-acre parcel of land in the same vicinity that the school district has owned since the 1960s and recently obtained residents’ permission to sell. Given the size of the parcel and the one-home-per-acre density allowed by the zoning, that parcel easily could accommodate more than 100 homes.

Common council members voted unanimously last week to amend the zoning map for the 56-home project that is in what has been called the Central Growth Area. That area is bounded by Wauwatosa Road to the east, Swan Road to the west, Donges Bay Road to the south and the rear of existing subdivisions that front Mequon Road to the north.

Sewer and water services will be installed in the area. Council members also earlier this year changed the zoning on the parcel to allow lots as small as a third of an acre with an overall density of one home per acre. The remaining space would be community green space that would include other amenities, such as paved walking trails, a pavilion and playground equipment. Council members also decided to table a second proposal from the same developer. The planning commission conducted an extensive discussion of the issue on Nov. 10 that included discussions about the responsibility for paying for sewer and water, as well as several other details. City staff and the developer agreed they were on the same page, but needed time to put some of those details into writing. The council is expected to take up the development agreement for that subdivision, which is being called The Estates of Mequon Preserve, at its meeting in December.

During the planning commission discussion, Jac Zader, the city’s assistant director of community development, said the wetlands on the site have been defined. The developer’s plans also include construction of a boardwalk on some of the community land on the site that would cross that wetlands area. Other amenities include a path around the property’s perimeter, a landscaped median at the entryway, a pavilion and playground equipment.

Home and lot packages in the Veridian developments would likely sell for $420,000 and up, said Kimberly Tollefson, Mequon’s director of community development.

One commissioner, David Fuchs, said he was “not thrilled” by the plans, adding that housing appeared to be too dense. “It looks like Grafton, not Mequon,” he said.

The developer is likely to build two spec homes on the site prior to receiving final plat approval from the city. A more detailed plan for the open space on the parcel will be considered later.

With the school district’s parcel, M-T School Board members voted unanimously on Oct. 27 to authorize Superintendent Demond Means and a lawyer working for the school district to negotiate the sale of the land that the district has owned for about 50 years. The 112-acre parcel was bought in two pieces as the intended site for a second high school, which never was built.

Means said in early October during a non-voting school board meeting that the district had received one offer for $2.1 million. The discussion that preceded the Oct. 27 vote made clear that “several offers” had been received, but was no more specific. Means told the News Graphic a week earlier that three offers had been received; he declined to provide similar specifics about the amount of those offers at that time.

The school board met in closed session Nov. 3 “for the purpose of deliberating and negotiating the potential sale of vacant land,” according to a notice for that meeting.

Gary Achterberg can be reached at .