City housing outlook nears planned 60/40 split
Single-family, multifamily residential structures growing at same rate

By Jake Meister - Enterprise Staff

Nov. 9, 2017

OCONOMOWOC — The city’s established goal of creating a ratio in which 60 percent of residences will be single-family homes and 40 percent duplex or multifamily abodes is nearing its completion, a briefing said.

In his “City Housing Mix Report” during the Tuesday meeting of the Common Council, City Planner and Zoning Administrator Jason Gallo said that of the 8,787 residences that have either been built or platted in the city, 5,603 are single-family homes, or 63 percent. The remaining 3,184 residences are multifamily units, which Gallo said can be classified as either a condo or apartment.

Remarkably, the numbers of single-family and multifamily approved housing developments between 2014 and 2017 are almost identical. Gallo reported 483 single-family housing units were built in that span, compared to 484 multifamily units. Of the multifamily units, 213 were condos and 271 were apartments.

To come to a ratio of 60 percent single-family and 40 percent multifamily homes, there would need to be 331 fewer s single-family homes or 331 more multifamily homes.

Alderman and Common Council President Charlie Shaw said many residents have told him they don’t like the rise in multifamily units.

“What I keep hearing from homeowners is there are too many condos, too many apartments,” Shaw said.

He added that the city should perhaps re-examine the split it is targeting.

Alderman Matt Rosek and Mayor Dave Nold said it’s important to note that multifamily complexes — l like an Eagles Landing— are as expensive as a home, but are being counted in that multifamily category.

Alderman Jeff Schmidt said the city maybe shouldn’t focus on a 60 percent, 40 percent split, but rather provide what it needs. He said there is a need for low-cost apartments for seniors, as well as apartments for new workers in the area.

Aldermen Derek Zwart and Michael Miller said the fact that the large condo and apartment complexes are going up in prime areas — near the lakes — takes some attention away from another fact: Single-family residences are being built in developments spread throughout the city. As a result, there might be a difference between perception and reality.