Plan Commission Reviews New Development Proposal, Holds Public Hearing on 14-story Building

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Cameron Bren

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Plan Commission reviewed a concept proposal for a new, four-story, mixed use development along the Beltline at its meeting on Dec. 10. The commission also held a public hearing for a rezoning request for the 14-story Pleasant View Park Apartments, which would be built across from Pleasant View Golf Course and overlook Greenway Station.

Tom Sanford proposed redeveloping the current site of Badger Books tucked between the Beltline and North High Point Road to build a four-story, mixed use building. Sanford’s proposal calls for 44 parking spaces, most underground and 18 apartment units. The retail space would be about 2,000 square feet. 

Sanford envisions retail on the first floor, residential on the second and third floors, and office space on the fourth floor to be visible from the Beltline. 

Director of Planning and Community Development Abby Attoun pointed out the site was a challenge for redevelopment because of its size, shape and proximity. She noted that it has been on the market for several years.

Mayor Gurdip Brar stated that the biggest issue would be with the single-family homes across North High Point Road. Brar said need Sanford needs to have a neighborhood meeting to see what they think of it.

Plan Commission member Kurt Paulsen suggested a rendering to show the view from the backyard of the homes.

Paulsen asked if there would be soundproofing from the Beltline. Sanford said he felt it would be a desirable place to live despite being directly adjacent to the Beltline. 

Sanford said he would plan on requesting TIF assistance for underground parking.

Council president Dan Ramsey asked what the basis would be for TIF. Sanford said he did not have specifics but wanted to get it out front that this is his intention before moving forward.

Paulsen said he feels the developer is going to have a tough time with the site if he chooses to move forward.

Plan Commission member Michael Slavish said there needed to be a bit more discussion about the site before approving the project as proposed. 

“I think generally we would agree there is a higher and better use for this site than what’s there currently,” Slavish said. “We want to find a way to support some redevelopment here it’s just a matter of finding what is the right use.”

Jim Stopple and Joe Lee from JLA Architects presented the general plan for Pleasant View Park Apartments following a public hearing. The plan calls for a 14-story apartment building consisting of 210 dwelling units and three levels of enclosed parking.

During the public hearing numerous residents from Bella Casa Condominiums, directly adjacent and downhill from the proposed site, raised concerns about losing trees, erosion and stability of the hill side and possible damage to their property from blasting that would be required to construct underground parking.

Mayor Brar asked if JLA or the developer met with neighbors. Lee indicated they hadn’t. Brar suggested they do so.

Brar asked Lee to address the other concerns raised by residents of Bella Casa. Lee said the tern blasting has a negative connotation but it used regularly in many projects. He said it is also tightly regulated in terms of peak particles velocities and ground vibrations, and they would meet all standards.

Lee said he understands the concerns and anxiety and will work with neighbors to ensure they meet all requirements. 

Slavish said they should also try to work the landscaping to direct runoff water away from Bella Casa. 

Brar stated that PPD, to the northeast of the site, is Middleton’s largest employer and it’s important not to disrupt their work.

Attoun said the owner of PPD’s building contacted the city about concerns with the project about particle matter in the air during construction and falling rock. Lee said he would reach out to them to address those concerns.

Lee also shared viewshed analyses that were previously requested by the plan commission. The building would be visible from the golf course clubhouse patio, but would not block the lake view or Capitol.

Paulsen asked for a viewshed analysis from Bella Casa Condominiums and also from the intersection of Greenway Boulevard and Pleasant View Road. Lee said he could provide those.

Brar asked if the building height could be reduced because that was the main concern from the golf committee. 

Stopple stated that the economics of the project are challenged, and without the additional stories, there aren’t enough units to spread the fixed costs over. 

Brar asked that the applicant still look into reducing the number of stories to 12 rather than 14.

Paulsen asked for the timeframe for getting a rezoning request before the Common Council. Lee noted that the goal is to have occupancy in early 2021 and missing that window would have dramatic effects on the success of the project. They need to break ground in February 2020.

Paulsen made a motion to refer the development to the following committees: Airport Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Pleasant View Golf Course Committee, Water Resources Management Commission and continue to work with the Fire Department to ensure it meets the needs for emergency vehicle site access.

The motion passed unanimously.

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