Families in the River’s Crossing neighborhood can rest easy – for now.
Dozens of people packed the City Hall chambers and asked the Plan Commission to rezone a vacant property along Clearwater. Their message was loud and clear – they didn’t want apartments in the neighborhood.
The Plan Commission recommending the Common Council rezone the property from multi-family residential to two-family residential. Mayor Jeff Scrima and Commissioner R.G. Keller voted against the proposal. The rezoning requires a public hearing and Common Council approval.
The property is currently owned by BMO Harris Bank. A request from Bielinski Homes for a 132-unit apartment project was placed on hold in 2010 after city staff had questions about the project, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Instead of apartments being built, the property was foreclosed.
Gary Kautzer, BMO Harris vice president, asked the Plan Commission to not touch the residential zoning.
“As of today, I have executed purchase contract on the property,” Kautzer said.
Residents brought forward concerns about property values, littering, traffic and the possibility of having an apartment complex built on springs.
Subdivision resident Don Hastings was especially concerned about the springs, asking what the city would do if basements were flooded in the River’s Crossing subdivision.
“I am not going to swear, but I am about to,” Hastings said. “You need to listen to the people. … You want to have lawsuits? You are going to have lawsuits. Does BM-whatever bank want lawsuits? They are damn well going to get them too.”
Subdivision resident Dave Wanner was also worried about the population density and increased traffic. With 39 apartment complexes in Waukesha, he questioned the need for the buildings and asked the commission to consider the people instead of the money.
“This is people’s lives,” Wanner said. “This is people’s homes.”
Jim Grybush was fired up as he argued against apartment complexes in the area, as he has fought proposals for apartments for years, calling the proposal “baloney.”
“We support the whole damn community,” Grybush said. “We don’t want the apartments there. … Doesn’t that mean a damn thing? I don’t get it.”
Meanwhile, Scrima said he supported the individual landowner’s rights for the property.
“When government makes a promise to a landowner, I believe government needs to honor that promise,” Scrima said.