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Mequon targets locations for less expensive homes

Feedback indicates need to draw families

Oct. 13, 2011

Mequon - The Common Council will focus on two areas in the west end of the city where there is vacant land for new subdivisions as it considers changes in zoning and land use that would allow for smaller lots and less expensive houses.

The two spots on the west end are off Donges Bay Road, with one centered west of Wauwatosa Road and north of Donges Bay and the other west of Lemke Park and both north and south of Donges Bay Road.

The city's planning staff also identified a third growth area in the northeast section of the city that is north of Bonniwell Road and west of Port Washington Road that might lend itself to the type of subdivision that will fill a housing need that some say is needed in the city.

The areas along Donges Bay Road are in Alderman John Wirth's district.

Wirth said he sent out 1,000 emails over the weekend to try and gauge residents support for the proposed changes.

'Big demand'

He received 80 responses prior to Tuesday's council meeting. Six were totally opposed, another half dozen wanted more information and the rest supported the idea.

"I think there is a big demand for this type of housing in Mequon," he said. "The Community Conversation also appears to support this."

A group of residents representing the greater Mequon and Thiensville communities has prepared a report supporting housing that would attract younger families as well as housing for empty nesters who want to sell their homes but stay in the city or village. The report, prepared as part of the Community Conversation project started last May, was presented to the public last night.

Director of Community Development Kim Tollefson also had some suggestions for ways to incorporate that type of housing in other areas of the city, but Mayor Curt Gielow said the council should first focus on the west end of the city for housing and the Port Washington Road area for economic development rather than trying to tackle all the areas that might be possibilities for various zoning changes.

Sewer service key element

Sewer service, or the lack thereof, is a driving force in planning in the city. While most of the proposed areas on Donges Bay Road are almost totally outside the current sewer service area, there is service to a portion of the land along Wauwatosa Road and to the Huntington Park subdivision, which could allow for less costly sewer extensions in the future. The city would need permission from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to extend sewers.

The type of subdivision that aldermen are discussing already exist in the city, Wirth pointed out. Bayberry Fields, Knightsbridge Estates, Ville Du Parc and Lac du Cours are in line with the current thinking. Wirth suggested a 2,000- to 2,400-square-foot house with three bedrooms and two-and-half baths would create opportunities to attract families to the city.

Tollefson said staff will talk with the landowners in the areas and bring back a more definitive proposal at a later meeting.

Plans on hold

The current focus of the council leaves two rezoning proposals for the east side of the city, north of Concordia University, in limbo. Two property owners, Jim Ramaker and Fred Bersch, want to divide their property into 2- to 21/2-acre lots rather than the 5 acres required for housing in that area. Those proposals were tabled last month to allow the council to begin discussions on housing and zoning.

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