Delafield commission finds multifamily project worth consideration
Sidewalk, electric signs reviewed

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Nov. 20, 2015

A proposed luxury apartment development on the land at the south end of the Westbrook Church property on Highway 83 was considered by the Delafield Plan Commission on Wednesday.  
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

DELAFIELD - Despite a proposal to build 144 multifamily units near a church on Highway 83 not meeting the guidelines set by the city’s master plan, the Plan Commission on Wednesday directed staff to continue the conversation about the project with the developer.

Wangard Partners wants to construct the four buildings each with 36 units on nearly 11 acres of land not utilized by Westbrook Church on Highway 83. Wangard is seeking to rezone the land for the high-end to luxury apartment units.

Mark Lake with Wangard Partners said the development would be on the southern end of the Westbrook Church property, which he said was underused. He told the commission he understands that according to the city’s master plan the city is already maxed out on the number of multifamily units, but a study the development firm paid for says there is demand in the Delafield area for more units.

City Planner Roger Dupler said he found the study to be reputable and well researched. He said the data used for the comprehensive plan is from the 2000 census and the data may have since changed.

“We are doing quite well in the number of communities in southeastern Wisconsin as it relates to building multifamily developments,” Lake said. “We know where apartments should go. It’s what’s Wangard does.”

When Westbrook Church was constructed, Lake said it was believed that the congregation would continue to grow, but has not increased as anticipated. Lake said Wangard approached the church about buying a piece of its land.

The church’s land is zoned institutional and is not taxed. Lake said by changing the zoning to residential, the city would gain tax money from it.

During the discussion Wednesday, Dupler pointed out that the area is covered by the Highway 83 Compact with the Town of Delafield and Hartland. He said before any changes are made to the master plan for that area, those communities have the right to review and share their comments about the development; however, they do not have authority to reject the project.

Plan Commissioner and Alderman Tim Aicher pointed out that when the church was approved in 2004, the plans included a build-out of the church. He suggested comparing the traffic that was estimated by that expansion to the proposed development.

Dupler said he would continue to work with the developer and share historical information as well as help relay information to the Town of Delafield and Hartland.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the commission approved changes to the ordinance governing sidewalk signs to specify the city’s oversight and ramifications if a sign owner does not follow the rules. The amended ordinance specifies what materials the sign can be made of and that it must be properly weighted. The sign owner must also have $1 million in liability insurance, take the sign in at the end of business hours and maintain the sign.

Mayor Michele DeYoe said the ordinance was revised after the city received numerous complaints about sandwich boards falling over, not getting taken in at night and placed inappropriately. The commission recommended approval to the Common Council.

The commission also discussed electrical signs with changing messages and the ordinance governing them. The consensus was that content has not been a problem with the existing signs, but more research must be conducted to determine if they may interfere with drivers’ safety.

In other meeting news

-A business plan of operation was approved for Red Wing Shoes, a footwear retailer, at 2742 Hillside Road.

-Approval was given for a sign for Endurance House, an athletic retailer, in the Hillside Shopping Center.