Its name is Arrabelle
HSI development plans reduced by 30%

By Alison Henderson - News Graphic Staff

Jan. 31, 2017

 In an updated rendering of proposed housing on Hamilton Road looking south, the shaded third floor shows what was taken out of the original design. The result is two-story townhomes with 19 fewer units than originally called for.
Submitted rendering

CEDARBURG — A plan for a multifamily housing development that was last seen at the Nov. 14 Cedarburg Common Council meeting as three, three-story buildings totaling 89 units, has returned anew, and this time it has a name.

Arrabelle will offer a blend of apartment units, townhome rentals and even a plot for a potential single-family lot at the former St. Francis Borgia property on Hamilton Road and Washington Avenue.

Opponents of the previous plan expressed concerns over the development’s size in an area surrounded mainly by two-story, single-family homes, and the congestion it would bring. In addition to the introduction of an online petition and “Vote No” yard signs, the city has received enough official protest petitions that, in accordance with state statute, will require a 3/4-majority vote from council members for the plan to move forward.

  An HSI Properties comparison shows that the three-story apartment will still be considerably shorter than the top of St. Francis Borgia Church.
Submitted rendering

Following the Nov. 14 public hearings and council meeting, at which aldermen ultimately tabled votes on three zoning requests, HSI Properties announced it would submit revised plans.

The developers met with city officials, neighborhood representatives and their respective attorneys in early January to gain feedback for an endorsable plan. HSI Properties developer Tony W. DeRosa said the three takeaways from that meeting were that the neighborhood is OK with it being apartments and with some parts of it being three stories. They were not OK with the density, however, and asked for 36 units, according to DeRosa.

“We’ve listened and we’ve made substantial changes,” DeRosa said.

To start, there will now be 69 total units – a 30-percent reduction from the 98 originally proposed – and the overall density has been reduced to 18.24 units per acre.

The development’s density has been called into question recently by residents who were concerned that the previously proposed 26.2 units per acre was too large and exceeded the 16.1 units per acre allowed in high-density areas by the city’s zoning code and land use plan. City Planner Jon Censky, however, said those specifications are guidelines and can be adjusted as the city sees fit under the Planned Unit Development overlay district that exists in the area.

There will still be three buildings, titled Buildings A, B and C. Buildings A and B will still offer apartment units over underground parking stalls, but the building heights have been reduced from three stories to two in some areas. The developer also increased building setbacks and reduced the length of Building B by 40 feet, making way for more green space. Building C is now proposed as townhomes, reducing its total units from 28 to nine and its height from three stories to two. Space for a potential single-family lot is now designated near the corner of Spring Street and Hilgen Avenue.

   TOP, Developers say the new plan for the Hamilton Road parcel that was long home to St. Francis Borgia School has been scaled back from the original plan, ABOVE, and provides more space between the southern end of the building and the adjacent home than was there before.
Submitted renderings

Monthly rental costs will still fall in the $1,200 to $2,000 range, and the plan still hinges on razing the school and rectory on the property.

“At the end of the day, it’s about finding compromise and balance between the city, the neighborhood and the developer,” DeRosa said. “No one is going to get everything they want.”

For some neighbors who have been active in opposing the proposal, the townhomes are a fit, but the rest is not.

“It obviously shows that the developer is trying to work with us, but if we look at what’s currently zoned, those two buildings on the grounds are clearly out of proportion,” said Cedarburg resident Bill Bujanovic.

The zoning and land use requests previously on the table would, in part, allow for high-density residential use (26.2 units per acre), according to city records.

DeRosa said the newly proposed density is as low as the developers could go to make the project economically feasible, especially considering some of the higher-end services the company plans to offer to its residents.

“We don’t just leave when we’re done building,” DeRosa said. “We offer valet dry cleaning; if you’re out of town and you need your plants watered, we’ll do that for you; if you need your dog walked, we’ll do that. To get that level of service, you have to have some density.”

He said this housing is for the people of the community, such as empty-nesters, snowbirds and baby boomers who don’t want to worry about furnaces or broken water heaters, or who want to lock their doors and head to Arizona for the winter. Though specificities aren’t set in stone for Arrabelle, HSI said amenities such as elevators and underground parking, quartz countertops, custom cabinets and stainless steel appliances, along with walk-in closets and large balconies, are part of the brand the company builds.

“This is about community and lifestyle. These aren’t just apartments, these are homes,” DeRosa said.

But Cedarburg resident Aaron Schultz, who has headed much of the opposition, said he thinks those amenities only apply to the residents who would live at the development and don’t create anything for the rest of the community.

“I don’t think the city or community really needs to consider what the developer’s economics are going to be,” he said. “This is about the character of the community. It’s going to have a lasting effect on the community.”

The revised plans will be posted in Cedarburg City Hall and the public library. DeRosa said he will come before the Plan Commission March 6 and the Common Council the following week for a vote on zoning and land use plan amendment requests. If approved, there would still be a considerable number of steps before any shovels could hit the dirt.

“Now that the revised plan has been submitted, I would encourage all residents to go see the plans (when they are posted) in the library or in city hall and let your council members know what you think,” Council Member Jack Arnett said.