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Brookfield council addresses two housing projects | Waukesha Co. Business News

BROOKFIELD — The Common Council met Tuesday night to address two multi-family housing projects which city staff say are necessary for community development, but dozens of residents have consistently opposed, saying they don’t fit in Brookfield.

Wheel and Sprocket

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After 60 residents voiced opposition to a proposed five-story mixed-use building at the corner of Capitol Drive and Lilly Road at a public hearing in September, The Heimat Group, the developers, changed their proposal.

The initial proposal consisted of a building with one floor of commercial space and four floors of apartments totaling 64 units, plus 10 townhome units behind it. Now, the developer is proposing one building which will wrap around the entire lot, reducing the overall height and keeping the total number of units the same, city documents say.

At the project’s second public hearing Tuesday, nearly 40 residents said they opposed the project, citing many of the same concerns as at the last public hearing.

Neighbors say that the intersection of Lilly and Capitol is congested and dangerous at times, and adding this project will make it worse. Specifically, neighbors are concerned that drivers will use nearby Fiebrantz Drive to as an alternative route, which could be dangerous for kids.

Additionally, residents are concerned that the project is too dense and sticks out in the area that has mostly shorter buildings and the developers have have not finalized key details like stormwater management.

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“I guess some of these things would be nice to get answered. I haven’t heard from anybody what it’s gonna do for us (neighbors),” said Dave Rosenberg, who owns Bill’s Power Center next door. “In my opinion it’s detrimental, but I’m just one little guy with a little business that’s gonna get covered up by a four-story building.”

Most agree that the corner is currently blighted and needs redevelopment.

“We all agree that we need to do something,” said Jacob LaFontain, who represents the area on the County Board. “Your decision will outlast your term in office; it’s going to set a new bar for future developments. If your vision for the future of Brookfield is taller buildings on shrinking footprints, so we can fit in more apartments, then that’s fine, you should approve this. But replacing what’s there with something shiny and new, but oversized and out of place, is not an improvement.”

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The Common Council did not take any action on the Wheel and Sprocket property.

Bishop’s Woods

Amid what some stakeholders call a significant shortage workforce and affordable units in Brookfield, developers are proposing 203 workforce housing units in a mixed-use building in the Bishop’s Woods Office Park.

These units, eight of which will be live-work units, would have reduced rents geared toward workers making between $43,000 and $86,000. Local business leaders say that these units are crucial as businesses struggle to find staff that live nearby.

“As we work to strengthen the economy in the county, it’s important that we work together to tackle our employers’ current biggest barrier to growth, and that’s finding enough qualified employees,” said Suzanne Kelley, president of the Waukesha Business Alliance.

But some neighbors oppose the project, saying it’s too big and would impact the area in more ways than the council is considering and the project should be voted on by residents.

“I’m not a mouthpiece of an organization,” said resident Richard Schoos. “The project basically will fundamentally change the demographics and the socioeconmics of Brookfield.”

Ultimately, the council approved the developer’s plans as city staff recommended, but some aldermen disagreed with the units being considered workforce housing. Ald. Kris Seals said he thinks there already are units that he considers affordable in Brookfield.

“We already have these units. If you can’t those units, then you live in Wauwatosa or West Allis until you can afford move into Brookfield,” Seals said.

City Attorney Jenna Merten told council members that they can vote no if they do not think the project plan meets city code or plans, but voting no because they disagree with the units being considered workforce housing could put the city in violation of the Fair Housing Act or other city code.

Ald. Christopher Blackburn echoed Seals’ remarks and said he was voting no as a protest.

Director of Community Development Dan Ertl warned the council that as suburban office parks become obsolete, they should expect future developments like this one.



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BROOKFIELD — The Common Council met Tuesday night to address two multi-family housing projects which city staff say are necessary for community development, but dozens of residents have consistently opposed, saying they don’t fit in Brookfield.

Wheel and Sprocket

After 60 residents voiced opposition to a proposed five-story mixed-use building at the corner of Capitol Drive and Lilly Road at a public hearing in September, The Heimat Group, the developers, changed their proposal.

The initial proposal consisted of a building with one floor of commercial space and four floors of apartments totaling 64 units, plus 10 townhome units behind it. Now, the developer is proposing one building which will wrap around the entire lot, reducing the overall height and keeping the total number of units the same, city documents say.

At the project’s second public hearing Tuesday, nearly 40 residents said they opposed the project, citing many of the same concerns as at the last public hearing.

Neighbors say that the intersection of Lilly and Capitol is congested and dangerous at times, and adding this project will make it worse. Specifically, neighbors are concerned that drivers will use nearby Fiebrantz Drive to as an alternative route, which could be dangerous for kids.

Additionally, residents are concerned that the project is too dense and sticks out in the area that has mostly shorter buildings and the developers have have not finalized key details like stormwater management.

“I guess some of these things would be nice to get answered. I haven’t heard from anybody what it’s gonna do for us (neighbors),” said Dave Rosenberg, who owns Bill’s Power Center next door. “In my opinion it’s detrimental, but I’m just one little guy with a little business that’s gonna get covered up by a four-story building.”

Most agree that the corner is currently blighted and needs redevelopment.

“We all agree that we need to do something,” said Jacob LaFontain, who represents the area on the County Board. “Your decision will outlast your term in office; it’s going to set a new bar for future developments. If your vision for the future of Brookfield is taller buildings on shrinking footprints, so we can fit in more apartments, then that’s fine, you should approve this. But replacing what’s there with something shiny and new, but oversized and out of place, is not an improvement.”

The Common Council did not take any action on the Wheel and Sprocket property.

Bishop’s Woods

Amid what some stakeholders call a significant shortage workforce and affordable units in Brookfield, developers are proposing 203 workforce housing units in a mixed-use building in the Bishop’s Woods Office Park.

These units, eight of which will be live-work units, would have reduced rents geared toward workers making between $43,000 and $86,000. Local business leaders say that these units are crucial as businesses struggle to find staff that live nearby.

“As we work to strengthen the economy in the county, it’s important that we work together to tackle our employers’ current biggest barrier to growth, and that’s finding enough qualified employees,” said Suzanne Kelley, president of the Waukesha Business Alliance.

But some neighbors oppose the project, saying it’s too big and would impact the area in more ways than the council is considering and the project should be voted on by residents.

“I’m not a mouthpiece of an organization,” said resident Richard Schoos. “The project basically will fundamentally change the demographics and the socioeconmics of Brookfield.”

Ultimately, the council approved the developer’s plans as city staff recommended, but some aldermen disagreed with the units being considered workforce housing. Ald. Kris Seals said he thinks there already are units that he considers affordable in Brookfield.

“We already have these units. If you can’t those units, then you live in Wauwatosa or West Allis until you can afford move into Brookfield,” Seals said.

City Attorney Jenna Merten told council members that they can vote no if they do not think the project plan meets city code or plans, but voting no because they disagree with the units being considered workforce housing could put the city in violation of the Fair Housing Act or other city code.

Ald. Christopher Blackburn echoed Seals’ remarks and said he was voting no as a protest.

Director of Community Development Dan Ertl warned the council that as suburban office parks become obsolete, they should expect future developments like this one.



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