The real-estate development company LZ Ventures has proposed a 140-unit apartment complex along the Yahara River, where the developer intends to demolish an existing waterfront restaurant and replace it with a six-story high-rise that offers residents an onsite pool and clubhouse facility.
Westport administrator/clerk-treasurer Dean Grosskopf said the proposal will be a “difficult sell” for town officials, however, who will have final say as to whether the redevelopment is allowed to proceed.
“It’s an intense change,” Grosskopf said, noting that the housing project would displace Nau-Ti-Gal restaurant – a dining establishment that has operated at the north end of Lake Mendota since 1982 – and require a rezone before implementation plans are considered. “But they’re going to come in for a consultation and present it, and we’ll see what they have to say.”
Grosskopf told town supervisors at their May 2 meeting that an initial consult had been scheduled between the developer and Westport’s plan commission, at which time project planners will share their vision for the site located at 5360 Westport Road. The agenda packet for the consultation has yet to be released, but an April 25 letter of intent describes the project in brief.
“The project will include a 6-story building with 140 dwelling units and enclosed parking on part of the first two levels,” the project description stated. “Each wing will have a mixture of studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms for a total of 70 per wing. The top four floors will contain dwelling units, while the bottom will consist of two parking levels under the courtyard and rear of the building with additional units facing the street and sides… The exterior architecture has yet to be defined but high quality materials will be used on both the exterior as well as interior, with materials, color palettes, and design that will integrate this building with the surrounding properties.”
Several supervisors expressed concern about the proposed development.
“It sounds like a lot of traffic,” supervisor John Cuccia said, voicing doubt that the existing roadway by which residents would access the site could handle so much added use. “The construction alone would destroy the road. And six stories is so out of context for that area.”
Supervisor Mary Manering asked staff about the height of surrounding residential buildings.
Grosskopf said most complexes in the area measure three stories, although one nearby building is four stories not including the roof. The proposed development would have a flat roof, he said.
“He’s saying, ‘I’m going to have a flat roof, so we’re only talking about a (single) story here,’” Grosskopf said of LZ Ventures partner Brad Zellner and his development group. “He’s going to bring that up, and we’ll have to decide if that has merit or not. But that’s for the plan commission to take a look at.”
The plan commission meeting has been set for May 9, at 7 p.m. Those interested in submitting public comment for the meeting should contact town administration via e-mail, at email@example.com, or by phone at (608) 849-4372.
An agenda for that meeting can be found on the town’s website, at https://www.townofwestport.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif6051/f/agendas/plan_commission_agenda_5-9-22.pdf.