Developer downsizes Germantown apartment project
Plan cut back by 36 units due to public response

By LINDA MCALPINE - Daily News

June 10, 2015

GERMANTOWN - Plans for Saxony Village, a 225-unit apartment complex in Germantown, have gotten smaller.

Village President Dean Wolter said the developer, Scott Bence for JBJ Development and Heritage Joint Venture, has prepared an alternative plan with 36 fewer units for the 24-acre parcel at N116 W16200 Main St.

Village Planner Jeff Retzlaff said cutting back on the number of proposed apartments was done “in response to public reaction.”

Residents had concerns about the impact Saxony Village would have on the Germantown School District, as far as space and traffic. Some also said they would rather see the complex as condominiums instead of rental units.

While Plan Commission members were supportive of the project, they shared concerns about its size. Commissioners also had issues with the proposed heights of the apartment buildings and road access, Retzlaff said.

A scaled-down proposal featuring 189 units has been submitted.

Bence requested input on the revision, Wolter said.

The revised version shows six two-story buildings instead of five three-story buildings in the complex. The new version has 90 one-bedroom apartments, 12 one bedroom plus den, 75 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom units. It also has parking for 247 vehicles.

The revised version still shows a clubhouse, a pavilion and two patio areas inside the complex.

Missing from this “Plan B,” as Wolter called it, is a 24-vehicle public parking lot, which would have helped ease parking on Main Street, and a retention pond that could have helped with stormwater issues in downtown.

“I would hate to call it a trade-off. The first plan did have the public amenities of the parking lot on Main Street and the retention pond, but the second plan does not,” Wolter said.

The revised plan conforms to zoning and could be developed without further input from the village or the public, Retzlaff noted in the background information.

“I think that what the developer heard at the committee meeting Monday night is that less is better when it comes to the apartment complex plan,” Wolter said, noting that he received 30 emails from residents who were against more multi-family developments in Germantown.

“I understand how they feel but there is little the village can do to stop a plan that conforms to the zoning,” Wolter said.

Village Trustee Dennis Myers said, having seen the details, said he favors the new plan.

“I think I like the two-story plan,” Myers said. “I also would like to see the village and the developer work out some sort of an agreement for the public parking lot on Main Street as it had been proposed in the original plan.”

Bence told the Plan Commission at its May 11 meeting, when he brought forth the proposal for 225 apartments, that he has been involved with this property since 1996 and that now the time is right to develop it.

Calls to Bence were not returned Tuesday afternoon. Wolter said the next step is the developer’s.

“It’s up to him if he wants to come in with a site plan or if he wants to have another consultation with the village before moving forward,” Wolter said.