Condo development faces tighter restrictions

By Dave Fidlin


Restrictions within a small condominium development could be heightened, following a recent vote of approval from the Whitewater Plan and Architectural Review Commission.

At their meeting Feb. 10, commissioners voted, 5-2, in favor of changing the zoning within the 16-unit Waters Edge condominium development, 351 S. Wisconsin St. The issue will go before the Common Council for a final vote.

Waters Edge, developed in 2001, received a special designation – planned community development (PCD) – as a nod to the city’s desire to improve the environmental design and promote innovative uses in that section of the city.

When the PCD zoning was enacted, the city did not have any specific criteria on the number of non-family members living within units in the development. More recently, residents living within the development – many of whom are 50 years and older – have expressed concerns about a potential influx of college students.

The city has non-family zoning restrictions in other areas in an effort to balance the interests of the transient college population and long-term single-family residents.

Council member Ken Kidd, who lives within Waters Edge, came before commissioners at their Feb. 10 meeting and requested the zoning be amended to a non-family residential overlay zoning district to put restrictions on the number of non-family members living within the development.

“It’s like the wild west,” Kidd said of the city’s various zoning classifications, some of which limit the number of non-family members and others that have no such restrictions.

Several residents living within Waters Edge came before commissions in support of the zoning change in an effort to maintain a peaceful environment.

“We have had problems with noise and overflowing tubs,” said Waters Edge resident Myra Brien.

Several commissioners inquired whether Waters Edge’s condo association could simply adopt a set of bylaws to accommodate the desired changes. Bylaws, however, could not be enforced by city staff.

Commissioners Greg Meyer and Cort Hartmann were the dissenters. Meyer, who chairs the commission, said he would have preferred an amendment to the existing PCD zoning.

In other business Feb. 10, the Plan and Architectural Review Commission:

– Did not take any action on a proposed 42-by-152-foot self-storage building that has been proposed along East Sunrise Lane. Applicant Jeff Seefeldt had planned to come before commissioners with his plans for a new building for Whitewater Self Storage LLP.

The agenda item was removed several days before the meeting, but Seefeldt’s request could be taken up again at a later date.

– Continued to discuss and review the city’s sign ordinance made several additional modifications. The city’s sign code has been under review the past several months. The Common Council will examine the code at a later date.

– Performed a routine review of the commission’s procedures, policies and forms. The review included an examination of the city’s reviews for site plans and the steps applicants must go through.

Latisha Birkeland, neighborhood services director, led the discussion with commissioners. Birkeland said she wants to streamline the planning process. The discussion was linked to the zoning rewrite project that has been under way in the city.

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