Action taken by the Sun Prairie Plan Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 12, makes it likely more apartments will be coming to Sun Prairie.

The commission voted to recommend city council approval of 14 live-work units in Providence, a 152-unit apartment development just west of Cabela’s, a rezoning to allow a four-unit residential apartment downtown, and a concept plan for up to 72 units in Smith’s Crossing.

Providence Live-Work Units forwarded

GNF Properties is seeking final council approval of an amendment to the Providence General Development Plan (GDP) for a change of use from Mixed-Use to Attached Single Family to allow 7 live-work units at 3012 Prospect Drive and 7 live-work units at 3011 Prospect Drive located at the Merchant Square entrance into the Providence neighborhood.

A memo to the commission by City Planner Sarah Sauer explained live-work units are flexible in their use and configuration by simultaneously allowing a commercial workplace component along the street front façade within a residential dwelling unit.

Building and site design comply with the existing standards for mixed-use buildings in the Providence general development plan (GDP). All required parking for the residential use will be provided through onsite parking.

Sauer said the workplace component should be used as a commercial space, but be occupied solely by the residential tenant of the unit and not rented out for profit.

As a means of enforcement, zoning permits will be required for any commercial use within the units.

Commissioners voted 8-0, with one commissioner absent, to recommend council approval of the live-work units.

FC Land PIP recommended to city council

Acting on a staff recommendation, the commission voted 8-0 to recommend final council approval of a precise implementation plan (PIP) for a 152-unit multi-family residential development with underground parking at 2965 Hoepker Road, just west of Cabela’s.

FC Land is proposing two, four-story buildings consisting of a mix of efficiencies, one-bedroom, and two bedroom units, connected by a two-story central commons space with both underground and surface parking onsite.

The building exterior will consist of a mix of brick, precast siding, and composite trim, according to Sauer.

In October, the Sun Prairie City Council approved a GDP allowing the 152-unit multifamily residential development with underground parking on the subject site so the PIP could be considered.

Rezoning for four-unit residential apartment backed

Acting on a recommendation from Community Development Director Scott Kugler, the commission voted 8-0 in favor of recommending council approval of a rezoning downtown.

Developer Peter Hunt is requesting approval of an amendment of the Official Zoning Map to rezone property at 202-210 W. Main St. from Central Commercial (CC) to Mixed-Residential (MR-8) to accommodate a four unit residential apartment.

In his report to the commission, Kugler wrote the property is located within the Main Street Live-Work Overlay district (LWO), which spans a two to three block area along Main Street running from roughly Union Street east to North Street.

The LWO is a small district that contains primarily residential buildings, some of which have been converted for commercial use.

Kugler reported both residential and commercial uses are permitted uses within existing buildings in the LWO, and design standards are established to guide any new development or redevelopment that might occur so that new buildings fit within the scale and character of the district.

The former Prairie Flowers & Gifts building contains two vacant commercial units on the first floor and two occupied residential units on the second floor.

Kugler wrote that the commercial spaces have been primarily vacant for many years since a flower shop that was housed in the building relocated to another space downtown.

According to Kugler, Hunt has indicated he intends to convert the ground level space into two residential units, resulting in a four-unit residential building on the site. The proposed rezoning is the first step in this process. If approved, the applicant would then be required to file a conditional use permit (CUP) application for approval of the details associated with the conversion.

Commissioner Analiese Eicher, who is also a member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, said she favored the local investment in the property.

“This is my street — this is my neighborhood,” Eicher said, adding that she is familiar with the property, and that the proposal fits with what is happening in the North Street neighborhood.

The commission voted 8-0 to allow the rezoning for the residential building.

Gorman Concept Plan OK’d

The commission spent some time discussing the merits of a proposed multi-family development in the Smith’s Crossing neighborhood, where developer Gary Gorman unveiled a concept plan for a 72-unit affordable apartment building at 2490-2498 Jenny Wren Trail.

Lots on both sides of the concept development are vacant, but a daycare center recently received approval on the same street where Compeer Financial also has a sizable office building located.

City Planner Philip Gritzmacher Jr. wrote in his staff report the proposal includes develop two 36-unit apartment buildings at 2490- 2498 Jenny Wren Trail.

While the units would be market rate, the applicant has indicated a desire to target the units to those making too much to quality for low-income housing tax credit supported units but unable to afford luxury apartments.

The proposed development would consist of three-story walk up units situated perpendicular to Jenny Wren Trail, with surface parking and a vegetated green space between the two buildings.

Gorman & Co. has proposed constructing a civic space along Jenny Wren Trail honoring Georgia O’Keeffe or another figure of significance for Sun Prairie.

The apartments would consist of an equal number of one and two bedroom units.

Gorman is seeking some relief from the city’s multi-family covered parking requirements, and both staffers and commissioners noted the quality of building materials and finishes would need to be upgraded to meet Smith’s Crossing construction standards.

Gorman told the commission the units would be marketed to renters who can’t afford luxury apartment rents. Craig Koltes from Gorman & Company told the commission monthly rents would be targeted at between $1,054 to $1,458 to try to capture that market price point.

“Should the city wait to approve more multi-residential housing until the housing need study the city is paying for is completed?” asked Lynne Gabrielson, who submitted her question via email. “From past experience with the city, I do not think you read these comments or take them into account.”

Gorman & Co. have already held two neighborhood meetings with Smith’s Crossing residents that included District 3 alders Maureen Crombie and Mike Jacobs.

Crombie said there was general support among the neighbors who recognize the need for affordable apartment housing in Sun Prairie.

Commissioners voted 8-0 to agree with a finding of being in general support of the concept plan, but with upgraded building materials and a lack of support to waive covered parking requirements for the apartments.

The proposal will next proceed to the city council’s Committee of the Whole for consideration and discussion.

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