While several apartment complex plans are in various approval stages in Waunakee, two village residents expressed concern about the increase in multifamily housing at the Village Board’s Jan. 3 meeting.
John Dooley and Amy Fox, both Dublin Way residents, spoke at a public hearing Jan. 3 as the board considered an amendment to the General Development Plan for the Woodland Crest subdivision that allows for an apartment complex.
Dooley urged the board to include a provision requiring the apartments to be rented at market rate. Both objected to the location, and Dooley noted that apartments will be located at three gateways to the village once they are built.
Fox said she would like to see a more comprehensive plan for the area.
“It’s in my backyard, and it’s not what I signed up for when I built my house here,” Fox said.
Dooley had inquired about the village’s development plans as they pertain housing.
Waunakee has a policy limiting the number of multi-family units to 25% of the housing stock. Village staff presented a count of the number of multi- and single-family homes that indicates in 2021, the number of multi-family homes represented 23% of the housing stock. Another 169 multi-family permits are available before the number reaches 25%, according to the village’s records.
Village President Chris Zellner noted that apartment buildings can be found throughout the community, with buildings near the high school and on North Century Avenue. The comprehensive plan also shows how each area is anticipated to develop, he said.
Attorney Bryan Kleinmaier said that the General Development Plan (GDP) amendment is part of the development plan for Woodland Crest that includes the future Hy-Vee and other businesses now under construction.
“There is language in the comprehensive plan that says the east side of Simon Crestway is suitable for multi-family residential use such as apartments or senior housing to serve as a transitional use between the commercial uses west of Simon Crestway and the existing neighborhood to the east,” Kleinmaier said.
Trustee Nila Frye asked about the rents and whether onsite management would be provided for the building.
Conner Kearney of Forward Development Group said rents would range from $1.50-$1.80 per square foot, with the smaller units at the higher price. A management office will be located onsite, Kearney added.
Trustee Phil Willems said as he has served on the board, he has seen the plans for the area show apartments.
“It’s not new. We’ve known about this for a long time,” Willems said, adding that the board has worked with the developers to keep the density down and the project “good looking.”
“I’m surprised that so many people have switched and like to live in apartments now, so I think we’re kind of reacting to it,” Willems said.
The density also prevents the village from sprawling into the “beautiful farmland,” he added.
Trustee Gary Herzberg said plan commissioners have listened to residents’ concerns about the development for more than a year. Originally, more than 90 units were proposed for the site, but that plan has been scaled back to 78.
Trustee Bill Ranum asked whether senior housing is classified as multi-family, indicating concern for EMS costs. Later in the meeting, staff indicated the multi-family count appears to include senior citizen housing.
Others expressed concerns about parking and traffic in the area. Kleinmaier said engineering consultants have indicated that the parking plan is adequate. At the next part of the approval process, when the Specific Implementation Plan is reviewed, the developer could be required to provide one stall per studio, one and a half stalls for 1-bedroom, and two stalls for 2-bedroom units, Kleinmaier said.
The board approved the General Implementation Plan unanimously but with the caveat that if more than 78 units are sought for the apartment complex or the senior-citizen apartments during the Specific Implementation Plan review, it will come back to the village board for approval.
Also at the Dec. 3 meeting, the board approved the termination of Tax Incremental Finance District (TID) #2. The district was extended for one year, with the increment created from the new value in 2021 going toward the Waunakee Housing Betterment Program.