Rezoning of former Fracaro’s tops first council meeting of ’19

By CARA SPOTO

Dec. 29, 2018

WAUKESHA — When aldermen gather for their first Common Council meeting of the new year on Thursday, they’ll be asked to back a proposal to rezone the former Fracaro’s Lanes property at 1430 White Rock Ave., paving the way for a possible apartment complex at the site.

The Plan Commission voted 6-0 earlier this month to recommend that 1.4 acres of land at the southwest corner of East Moreland Boulevard and White Rock Avenue, as well as another 1.13 acres across the street on the southeast corner of the intersection, be rezoned from “neighborhood business” district to a “multifamily residential.”

The panel held off, however, on approving a conceptual plan for a 72-unit apartment complex that sparked the rezoning request after several residents, and commissioners, expressed concerns about the initial plan.

Residents largely had issues with having such a dense development on an already problematic corner, while commissioners thought the concept itself — at least in its current form — was a bad fit.

Although all residents who spoke expressed general opposition to having a multi-family development at the site, Community Development Director Jennifer Andrews said planners have looked at the corner and determined that commercial and single-family developments no longer make sense for the intersection.
 

Sign rule changes

In other items, the council will be asked to approve an overhaul of the city’s sign code aimed at putting it in compliance with a recent court ruling.

The changes are being considered to bring regulations in line with Reed vs. Town of Gilbert, a U.S. Supreme Court decision, which stated that sign codes with content-based restrictions are unconstitutional in most cases. “Contentbased restrictions include distinctions such as For Sale Signs, Election Campaign Signs, and Construction Signs,” etc., along with most permit exemptions, states a memo attached to the agenda.

The proposed code would remove these distinctions and exemptions and replace them with new regulations that will still achieve the desired results, according to the memo.

As part of the changes, the City Attorney’s Office is also calling for the elimination of the city’s longstanding Sign Review Board and Sign Appeals Board.

Under the proposed changes, the Sign Review Board’s responsibilities would be replaced with staff review, and the Plan Commission would take over the Sign Appeal Board’s responsibilities.

The changes would also make the review process more straightforward for sign applicants and reduce the wait time for a sign permit from as much as a month to no more than a day or two, according to city staff.

The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 201 Delafield St.