By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Housing — a hot topic of conversation throughout Whitewater for much of this year — was revisited briefly at a recent city meeting as officials continue to weigh the prospect of a neighborhood preservation plan.

Al Stanek, who sits on the city’s Community Development Authority, went before members of the city’s Plan and Architectural Review Commission on Sept. 10 and implored the panel to consider being part of a joint neighborhood preservation plan.

Stanek used the commission’s public comment portion of the agenda to share his views of the plan, which he said he hopes will come to fruition through a collaborative effort.

Because the proposal was not on the commission’s most recent agenda, members of the appointed body could not speak to the matter.

“Here in Whitewater, we’ve done a lot of debating about the need for a neighborhood preservation plan, but we’ve not allowed for any actual discussion to take place that could lead to a better understanding of what this plan might just look like,” Stanek said.

As budget talks get underway, Stanek said he was hoping city officials would use unspent funds from this year’s budget and allocate them toward the creation of a plan.

“Whitewater has not taken an aggressive approach or captured available funding, while neighboring communities have been able to put funds, initially identified for us, in use in their community,” Stanek said.

Stanek, who has vocally supported housing preservation on the CDA, has been discussing with other members of the appointed body a desire to bring together the Plan and Architectural Review Commission and Common Council with the CDA to formulate a strategy for the plan’s creation.

At various points in recent years, members on each of the three bodies have discussed the city’s current and future housing stock.

During a July discussion of the issue, CDA members said they hoped to collaborate with others in the community so efforts are not done in a vacuum.

Greg Meyer, who chairs the Plan and Architectural Review Commission, also sits on the CDA. Meyer is one of multiple persons in the community who sits on two of the three bodies that could ultimately be part of the joint collaborative discussion.

“Everybody needs to be sitting in one room and seeing which direction we need to go,” Meyer said at the July CDA meeting.

The scope of the planning effort, and the ultimate dollar amount that would be allocated to the effort, have kept the effort at bay — at least up to the present.

“It’s still a vague concept. We still need some details,” CDA chairman Larry Kachel said during the July CDA discussion. “I don’t know how you put a dollar amount on a concept.”

Stanek and others on the CDA said they are not interested in embarking on another full-fledged study. At the Sept. 10 Plan and Architectural Review Commission meeting, Stanek reiterated that point.

“We don’t need an expensive study,” Stanek said. “We do need to honor our obligation to existing homes and the broader issue of housing.”

 
 

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