New plans for historic Lake Road site submitted
Oconomowoc Project reduced from 13 units to 9

By Alex Nemec

Jan. 10, 2019

 The view of the proposed WaterView Condominiums from Lake Road. The building on the left is a 3,800-square-foot condo with three bedrooms, three full bathrooms and two half bathrooms. On the right is a 25,000-square-foot, eight-unit building.
Rendering courtesy of Jason Gallo

OCONOMOWOC — Renner Architects, the developer behind plans that would place a condominium project at the historic 517 Lake Road site, has submitted updated plans to be reviewed at the Architectural Commission meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall, 174. E Wisconsin Ave.

The project, WaterView Condominiums, was highly contested when it was proposed in the fall of 2017, resulting in thousands of signatures from citizens and over 3,000 letters sent to City Hall.

Renner Architects founder Peter Renner said the project was reduced from 13 units to nine with the new plans.

“We made it look very historic and Victorian at the city’s request,” Renner said. “They wanted a big historic roof on the building so we went from three stories to two stories.”

WaterView Condominiums would consist of one 3,800-square-foot condo with three bedrooms, three full bathrooms and two half bathrooms — in addition to a 25,000-square-foot, eightunit building.

The site is located between the city’s two crown jewels, Lac La Belle and Fowler Lake; and is a part of the city’s Isthmus District. The city has strict regulations of what can be built there and what can’t, Oconomowoc Mayor David Nold said.

David Cullinane, executive director of the Isthmus Historic Protection Society, which aims to preserve the city’s architecture, culture and neighborhood, said homes have populated that strip of land since the turn of the 20th century.

“Zoning was put in place to protect the homes that are here from outside development pressures that tend to destroy the architectural culture and history of the city,” Cullinane said.

“This particular home site was the first site registered in Oconomowoc.”

The site is also along the city’s historic walking trail.

“When we took polls there, about one out of four people did not live in the city,” Cullinane said. “They came to walk around the trail and go downtown to spend money and spend time in an architecturally historic neighborhood.”

Cullinane said he is looking for a strong show of citizens speaking against the proposal at the commission’s meeting on Wednesday, When asked how he would handle the commission’s disapproval of the previous set of plans, Renner said the commission will have to look at the new renderings to see if they’ll still dislike it. Renner added he spoke with a neighbor on Friday who said they approved of the new renderings.

“If we build them I think they are going to be the highest quality condominiums in Lake Country,” he said.

Cullinane said he feels there are appropriate areas for further condo expansion on Wisconsin Avenue that don’t destroy individual neighborhoods for oversized, inappropriate development.

“We’re not against development, we’re against destroying residential neighborhoods,” Cullinane said. “There’s a lot of people that are absolutely interested in keeping this city preserved in at least some areas.

“We get the downtown piece, we understand that, but we’re just trying to protect our neighborhoods.”

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