WaterView Condominiums further denied by Plan Commission
If decision is appealed, would go to county appeals court

By Alex Nemec

June 20, 2019

OCONOMOWOC — The Plan Commission voted unanimously to affirm hearing examiner John Fuchs’ decision to deny developer Peter Renner’s WaterView Condominium project last Wednesday evening, citing the design didn’t match that of the historic Isthmus District.

The vote was 7-0 in favor of affirming Fuchs’ decision.

The nine-unit project is planned for 517-525 N. Lake Road. The property sits on the edge of Fowler Lake adjacent to the dam and has received criticism from residents in the Isthmus District for not fitting the neighborhood.

Don Murn, Renner’s attorney, said the city’s ordinance on which Fuchs’ decision was based was vague and unenforceable.

Renner quoted the ordinance which states “(all development, facade and building changes must) complement other instances of similar development in the Isthmus District which are consistent with the historic theme.”

He added he “would challenge any of you or any applicant to give me a standard by which they could submit something that would satisfy that requirement because it is simply unascertainable. It is not a standard, it’s a statement without any context.”

Commissioner John Gross said the ordinance wasn’t vague, but rather was built to allow flexibility because of how unique the parcels are.

“The city didn’t want to come up with the possibility of making it all tickytacky,” Gross said. “It was meant to give maximum flexibility so we could preserve as much as we could of the character.”

Mayor David Nold said the city has gone through a construction boom with condominiums being added to the downtown.

“But that’s downtown, that’s not on North Lake Road on a narrow street by a dam,” Nold said “What (Renner) is proposing would fit somewhere else much better or a redesigned building would look maybe acceptable.”

Nold added that adding nine families to a two-family lot would increase traffic and density.

Should Renner and Murn choose to appeal the commission’s decision, it will go to the Waukesha County Court of Appeals.

<<EARLIER: Renner appealing decision on WaterView Condominiums