Cedarburg condo concept plan stalls
Design, parking result in no action by Plan Commission

By Laurie Arendt

Jan. 10, 2019

 Developer Greg James is pursuing plans to build a 55-and-older-resident condominium
complex on the city’s south side.
Rendering courtesy of the city of Cedarburg

CEDARBURG — A new condominium development on Cedarburg’s south side proposed for residents 55 years and older side will have to wait another month for a necessary amendment to the land-use plan and a rezone of the property.

The plan for Cedarburg Trail Condominiums includes 28 units in 14 two-unit structures on 5.52 acres of land on Evergreen Blvd. The parcel is the last available parcel in the industrial park and has been for sale for seven years without securing an industrial buyer.

Developer Greg James was before the Plan Commission Monday seeking two changes for the parcel: a land use plan amendment from its existing industrial and manufacturing classification to high-medium density residential and a rezoning recommendation.

In order for the Plan Commission to even consider his request, all of the existing landowners in the park had to agree to it.

“That took about a year,” said James, noting that it was due to the efforts of the existing property owner contacting each owner individually. As all have now signed off, he had hoped to move forward with the project.

Plan Commissioners had a number of concerns with James’ plan. The lot itself is long and wide, which places limitations on how James can create a design with 28 units and a roadway, which will be private and not maintained by the city. Trash collection will be managed and paid for by the condo association, which will contract with Waste Management under the proposed plan. “I’ve had to modify the floor plan; we couldn’t do the depth we normally use and the units had to become longer,” said James, noting that the change in plans was needed to accommodate the setback in the front of the units. Each unit will be separated by 5 feet from its neighbor.

“How is guest parking handled?” asked Commissioner Sig Strautmanis, who noted that in some of the condo complexes he’s been involved in the development of, his firm has gone back and had to add parking.

“The owners would be required to park in the garages, not in the driveways,” said James. “We don’t want it to look like a parking lot. Guests would park in the driveways or on Evergreen Boulevard. There is no planned on-street parking.”

Commissioner Heather Cain raised concerns with this plan, noting that staff at Today’s Dentistry already parks on Evergreen.

“Their lot is quite small for the amount of patients parking there,” she said. “It’s not a great thing to park along that avenue.”

Commissioner Greg Zimmerschied questioned whether the city could work with James to modify the required setback so the private road could be enlarged and parking on one side of the street could be allowed. James noted that this may already be possible under the current plan.

However, Strautmanis noted that at some point, with even less of a setback, a driveway becomes nonfunctional.

“At that point, you can’t fit a car on it anymore,” he said. “Twenty feet is  about the minimum for a driveway.”

Among other concerns, Plan Commissioners also questioned the design of the units. At a previous meeting, James had been encouraged to modify his proposed design to be more reflective of the existing homes on the west side of Evergreen Boulevard, which were designed with more architectural variation.

Staff also noted that the proposed private drive does not line up with the existing Pheasant Court cul de sac, and to do so would likely infringe in the proposed space for one of the planned units.

“There are layers and layers (of concern) on top of each other, it’s a long straight street with long straight buildings, “ said Commissioner Adam Voltz. “I just don’t know.”

Commissioner Mark Burgoyne also said that the proposal was technically for an in-fill lot, which should require the city to hold it to a little higher standard.

Mayor Mike O’Keefe pointed out to the commission that should they approve the change, they are locking in the number of units that can be built on site. Additionally, the current property owner was in the audience and, when asked by the commission what he would prefer, asked that the changes be made concurrently with each other, as should the development not happen, he would be stuck with a residential property in an industrial park.

Ultimately, the Plan Commission decided not to take action on the requests and asked that James return next month with a revised plan to see how he could address the issues raised at the meeting.

“All we really ask is that you take our concerns to heart,” said Zimmerschied. “You have the opportunity to do little things … if you build them to the ‘Cedarburg standard’ I think they would sell. There is a ‘Cedarburg dividend’ out there for you.”