River Walk Apartments move ahead despite some opposition
Hartland board discusses vision for downtown

By Katherine Michalets - Special to The Freeman

Jan. 13, 2015

HARTLAND — The Village Board voted to approve rezoning to allow an apartment development to proceed downtown despite a few residents raising concerns during Monday’s meeting.

The board voted to approve changing of the land use designation for three properties abutting Oak Street and Lawn Street from medium-density residential to mixed use commercial/ residential, as well as to approve the vacation of the Oak Street right-of-way and rezoning the properties from central business/mixeduse district to B-3 central business/mixed-use district with a planned unit development overlay. Trustee Ann Wallschlager voted against all three motions.

She said she did not feel questions she had raised during the last Village Board meeting about whether there was adequate parking for the development had been answered by the developer, Joe McCormick.

The plans for River Walk Apartments on East Capitol Drive include 77 units divided between three buildings. A new building consisting of a first floor with commercial space and a second floor with three apartment units would be built where a commercial building currently stands, but instead would be constructed to be parallel with East Capitol Drive.

Daryl Clasen, an East Capitol Drive resident, said he was “mystified at the structure of the development and why we would want that there.”

Clasen said he feels the development would reduce the site line to the Bark River and he would prefer a more urban-looking development.

Clasen also was concerned about the flow of traffic from the apartment buildings.

Wallschlager said she believes the village needs to focus more on creating reasons to shop downtown, such as retail, versus adding more residential units.

“I think the traffic would be horrific,” she said. “I think we need to look at it closer before we pass it.”

Trustee Rick Stevens said people want to shop at places that aren’t too far away. Stevens also disagreed that traffic would get a lot worse if the apartment buildings are constructed.

Village President Dave Lamerand reminded the trustees and audience members about the years of work the village put into planning the right type of development for downtown and how this project fit into the already prepared plans.

Liquor license hearing

The vision for downtown also was discussed during a public hearing on a request for a class B liquor license by Board & Brush Creative Studio.

Village Administrator David Cox explained that it was the last regular class B license that the village had to sell, while it still has three more expensive reserved liquor licenses available.

Wallschlager said she favored giving the business the liquor license because it would be nice to have a reason for more people to come downtown.

“I agree with Dave (Cox) that I don’t think it’s best use of that license but I think it’s wrong to discriminate,” she said.

Trustee Karen Compton said she opposed granting the license because she didn’t feel it was the proper use for it.

Lamerand said the board members needed to “look at what is in the best interest of the village overall and the best use of licenses.”

“This is not a venue that is open to the general public, just for the sake of the public of coming in and having a drink and that’s really what licenses are for,” he said.

The license was unanimously denied.