City of Pewaukee multifamily housing development plan in limbo
Commissioners table developer’s proposal

By Dave Fidlin - Special to The Freeman

Feb. 20, 2015

CITY OF PEWAUKEE — Plans for a multifamily development at Lindsay Road and Highway 74 are in limbo, following a vote Thursday by city officials.

Developer Matt Neumann of the Neumann Companies came before the Plan Commission with a proposal to construct several apartment buildings, comprising about 120 units on land currently zoned for industrial use.

But nearby single-family property owners, many living in Neumann’s multi-phased Victoria Station subdivisions, objected to the plans and implored officials to deny the proposal.

While single-family residences were once proposed for the site, Neumann said the multifamily plans he submitted Thursday were more practical for land abutting a high-traffic roadway. He also described the proposal as “a substantial improvement” from a series of aging industrial buildings currently at the site.

Throughout the discussion, which spanned several hours, Neumann pitched the proposed apartment complex as “luxury” and said it would be targeted toward young professionals.

Residents’ concerns included a perceived loss in property values, population density and stormwater impacts from the proposed development. The most prevalent concern, however, was what impact renters could have on the area.

Tim Keller, who recently moved his family to Victoria Station, pointed to his experience as a Milwaukee police officer as a reason behind his concern of having rental units near the subdivision.

“I bring an insight into rental properties not many people know about,” Keller said. “I see it as 120 opportunities to get one bad apple.”

Jennifer Wall and her family moved into a home on nearby Baker Court three months ago and bemoaned the prospect of losing natural vegetation beyond her lot line.

“We’re going to lose all this privacy,” Wall said of the proposed apartments. “It’s a huge impact to us. It’s very, very discouraging. It’s devastating.”

Questions also arose about who would manage the apartments once Neumann’s company completed the project. He replied, “This would be a long-term investment. This is not a situation where we’re looking to build it, sell it and move on to the next project.”

Alderman and Commissioner Michael Hasslinger unsuccessfully made a motion to accept Neumann’s plans for the multifamily housing. While he had concerns about traffic, Hasslinger said he viewed the plan as “a nice blend” with the existing housing stock in the area.

Commissioners ultimately decided to table Neumann’s request for a month. He is expected to return in March, possibly with a modified design.

Mayor Scott Klein, who chairs the Plan Commission, said the goal has been to have a mixture of developments throughout the community. When it comes to multifamily housing, however, Klein suggested the city might be reaching its threshold.

“What we seem to be seeing more and more of is residents who are opposed to it,” Klein said. “This, to me, seemed to make sense because we thought we’d be able to get rid of something else (old industrial buildings).”

But Klein told Neumann, “I don’t think you have much support for what’s been proposed here tonight.”