Multifamily development projects in the city of Cedarburg could
see changes that allow for more flexibility regarding height and
Despite concerns of residents, the Plan Commission on May 4
approved ordinance changes to the city's planned unit
development code. The item will be scheduled for a public
hearing before heading to the Common Council for final approval.
The proposal allows a maximum building height of 45 feet, down
from an earlier-discussed height of 60 feet. Currently, the
planned unit development ordinance limits a residential density
to the approved zoning of a particular district. For a multiple
family zoning district, the maximum is 16 units per acre.
Residents who attended the April 6 and the May 4 Plan Commission
meetings raised concerns about allowable building height and
Common Council member Patricia Thome, who sits on the Plan
Commission, said she was skeptical about offering 24-unit
densities per acre instead of the current 16-unit limit. She
said she feared developers will gravitate to the higher
Citizens who also appeared at the last two Plan Commission
meetings said they were worried that the larger buildings might
not fit with the city’s architecture and overwhelm neighboring
establishments, thus reducing property values. Valerie Sorchy, a
neighbor of the St. Francis Borgia school property, said
Evergreen Park Senior Housing at Evergreen and Lincoln
boulevards is in an industrial park, while the neighborhood
around St. Francis Borgia, which could see a multi-family
development in the future, encompasses singlefamily and
City Planner Jon Censky emphasized at the April 6 meeting that,
even if the city approves a PUD amendment and developers request
higher densities or heights, there is no entitlement to them.
“The city has the ability to deny or grant (them) on a
case-by-case basis,” Censky said.
Cedarburg Mayor Kip Kinzel said there are several sites, such as
Weil Pump and Amcast, where the change would allow the
opportunity to look at proposals that make sense in the area.
“The current code is so restrictive that
developers are going elsewhere,” he said.
The proposed changes would allow for
increased density and height where it can be justified and the
quality of the project meets Cedarburg’s standards, Censky said.
“Right now, (the changes) would only apply to four or five
properties in the city that have been noted in the Smart Growth
Plan,” he said.
A Smart Growth Plan is an urban planning and
transportation plan that concentrates on economic growth to
improve quality of life within a community.
The change offers “the most control over
proposed developments, while providing some flexibility in
design by permitting certain modifications to the dimensional
standards and requirements,” according to comments made at the
Plan Commission meeting on April 6.
According to the proposed ordinance, current
language changes also alter PUD districts to follow a minimum
reduction of development area from 2 acres to 1 acre for
residential and commercial PUDs. Industrial PUDs will require a
minimum of 10 acres and mixed compatible use requires no minimum
Another addition to the ordinance requires
developers to provide a timetable that includes all benchmark
dates from commencement to completion of the proposed project
site. City code previously allowed for a pre-petition conference
to discuss the scope and nature of the project.
The proposed ordinance refines the approval
process for any zoning changes so the plans get reviewed through
the various city commissions. The Common Council will make the
The review process will continue to allow
public feedback about the nature and the scope of the proposed
project, Censky and the plan commissioners said.
The significant changes proposed within the
PUD ordinance include:
■ Changing in the minimum area requirements
for residential and commercial sites to allow for use of PUD
zoning on some of the smaller sites in Cedarburg.
■ Allowing increased density for proposed
projects of exceptionally high quality where exterior and
interior materials, design details, workmanship and features are
comparable to the highest quality of Cedarburg’s current housing
stock or its best commercial structures.
■ Increased building height of up to 45 feet
to support the public benefit likely to result from the
development, provided all required yards are increased by not
less than 1 foot for each foot the structure exceeds the
underlying district’s maximum height requirement.
Denise Seyfer can be reached at