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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

District 2 residents: Remember Fairview North?


Commission OKs altered plans for condos in Brookfield

Developer reduced size, height of project after residents complained

Posted: Nov. 7, 2005

Brookfield - A revised plan to address neighborhood concerns about a Capitol Drive area development was approved by the city Plan Commission on Monday, although a few commissioners bemoaned a loss of the original architectural design to cut the building height.

Commissioners unanimously approved the latest changes and voted to schedule another public hearing.

Developer Bill Patch wants to build two luxury condominium buildings and a commercial office building with a restaurant on the west side of N. Calhoun Road, north of W. Capitol Drive. But neighbors blasted the plan at a Sept. 6 public hearing, raising concerns about density, building height, storm water runoff, traffic and the proposed location of the restaurant.

The plan would raze the former Fairview North School and replace it with a 38,000-square-foot commercial building that would contain offices and a restaurant with an outdoor terrace. Two condominium buildings would be constructed west of the commercial building and north of the city's water tower.

After the public hearing and subsequent meetings with Mayor Jeff Speaker, Ald. Rick Owen and city planners, Patch reduced the number of condo units from 48 to 24. He also lowered the commercial building's height, which was about 40 feet with some gabled peaks as high as 58 feet, to 35 feet, which is the city's typical height limit.

Changes called minimal

But Ald. Cindy Kilkenny, who is not a plan commissioner, called those changes inconsequential, noting that the square footage of the two condominium buildings was the same although there were fewer units inside each building.

The three buildings' maximum floor area ratio to the total size of the 7-acre site would be about 44%, more than double the 20% allowed under existing zoning rules, Kilkenny said.

Patch returned Monday with plans to reduce the size of the northern condominium building from 45,618 square feet to 34,786 square feet. The southern condo building would be 48,524 square feet. He cut the number of total condo units from 48 to 36, instead of 24. The northern building would have 14 units and the southern, 22. The floor area ratio would be 39.9%.

Patch told plan commissioners in a memo that condos and an office building would provide a good buffer between single-family homes and the busy Capitol Drive corridor. That area formerly was zoned to allow a large shopping center, something neighbors opposed.

But neighbors complained at the recent public hearing that high-density multifamily housing was not a great alternative to big-box retailers.

Two plan commissioners, Mike Faber and Ald. Mark Nelson, said Monday that they were disappointed to see the commercial building's gabled peaks lopped off to meet the 35-foot height rule.

Faber said that he believed the gables would not offend the neighbors and urged Patch to illustrate the sightline for the neighbors. Some commissioners recommended floating balloons at the proposed height or using 3-D or computer models to illustrate the height.

Commissioner Jennifer Donze questioned whether the condo building's size could be reduced further. She said it was double the size that was projected in a land-use plan for that area. Patch said that would not be economically feasible.

Owen urged strict adherence to city codes on lighting and storm water management.

"COMMISSION OKs ALTERED PLANS FOR CONDOS IN BROOKFIELD ~ Developer reduced size, height of project after residents complained" by Lisa Sink, Nov 7 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article  The Fairview project was unanimously approved by the Plan Commission Monday. Developer Bill Patch came back with the "reduced project", which is now at 39.9% floor area ratio, still nearly twice the floor area ratio allowed by the current zoning. "Commissioner Jennifer Donze questioned whether the condo building's size could be reduced further. She said it was double the size that was projected in a land-use plan for that area. Patch said that would not be economically feasible." So, judging from the unanimous approval of this project, our city thinks we should disregard zoning so the developer can make more  money? I always thought a plan commission's job was to see to it that all new construction comply with the zoning! Originally the former floor area ratio of was 44%, more than double the 20% allowed under existing zoning. Area residents and Alderman Kilkenny, whose district the project is in, were not happy with the density and height of the original project. I cannot imagine they think this "reduction" by 4.1% is enough to make much of a difference. There will be a  new public hearing for this project.  




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