Developer asks for higher density at condominium site
Plan Commission backs change but asks for less modern look for buildings
Mequon — Plan Commissioners didn't have a problem with project manager Larry Appel's request for more condominiums in Phase 2 of Winding Hollow but they didn't hold back when it came to the architecture, described as modern prairie style.
"I have no issue with the density at all," said member Cliff Mayer. "I am all for housing in a walkable area, but I do have an issue with that design in this location."
When approved in 2009, Phase 2 was to have 12 units, built as six side-by-side condominiums, on the 6-acre parcel on Mequon Road at Market Street. The architecture of those units was traditional.
Appel asked for permission to construct four, two-story buildings with 10 units in each, five units per floor.
Instead of the $450,000 price tag being asked for the side-by-side condominiums, these condos would market in the $285,000 range. The new price drew praise from Mayor Curt Gielow who said the city needs that price point to retain residents who are moving out of houses and downsizing.
Appel said the 6-acre site, in the heart of the city's retail district, can handle more density. The buildings will be set back from Mequon Road, with the corner of the closest building 128 feet from the street. There is also a detention pond between the buildings and the sidewalk on Mequon Road. The four buildings, with balconies, underground parking and cantilevered roofs struck members of the commission as too modern for the site, but Community Development Director Kim Tollefson pointed out that two new buildings recently approved by the commission - the bank/office space and Mobil car wash at Port and Mequon roads - have a more modern and less traditional appearance.
Tollefson also cited numerous examples of buildings with flat roofs in the immediate area but she didn't win any converts for the proposed Winding Hollow buildings.
"We would like you to do this but we don't like the design," Mayor Curt Gielow said.
Appel said the design can be changed but asked for a ruling on the proposed change in density.
In the end, the commission sent the change to the Common Council with a recommendation to approve the 40 units. The council had a first reading of that change Tuesday night and will vote on it in May. The architectural aspects of the plan will come back to the Plan Commission for approval once the council takes action on the recommendation.
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