The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission backed five conditions last week for constructing 96 apartment units between the Sturgeon Bay Target store and Duluth Avenue.
Pre/3 of Brookfield wants to develop the 12.6-acre site where the new Tax Increment District #7 is located by constructing eight 12-unit buildings with attached garages.
Because the property is zoned General Commercial (C-1), community development director Marty Olejniczak said multifamily dwellings on the site require a conditional-use approval by the commission.
The conditions included the provision of a walkway between the easterly driveway and Duluth Avenue alongside the existing private-access drive to the site. Other conditions are required of most developments, including approval by the Aesthetic Design and Site Plan Review Committee, approval of the final stormwater-management plan by the city engineer, and the provision of necessary public-utility easements.
The commission added a fifth condition sought by Alder Kirsten Reeths to add green space for pets if pets are allowed on the premises. Susan Paschke, who owns property north of the proposed development in the Town of Nasewaupee, requested a green space on the site for animals so they wouldn’t make a mess on adjacent property.
Jared Schmidt, an engineer with Robert E. Lee & Associates, appeared in front of the commission to present the project plans.
“Pre/3, as a whole, has a number of units within the city,” he said. “[They’re] looking to continue their investment here and add some additional housing opportunities for your community.”
Schmidt said the individual-entry units with two bedrooms are intended to appeal to those who make between $15 and $20 per hour – $31,200 to $41,600 annually – with monthly rent in the range of $1,200 to $1,300.
Schmidt said two existing roadways to the north and south connect Target and Duluth Avenue, and a stormwater pond and gazebo will be located in the center of the site.
“The site itself, along with the building, presents well,” he said. “There’s a generous amount of green space.”
Schmidt said there will be three entries to the site off the roadways – two to the north and one to the south – and an on-site office with a garage is included on the east side of the property.
“We want to be good neighbors, as much as we want to have good neighbors, and we think we’ve been able to accomplish that with a nice layout that circulates well for traffic, and has dedicated and individual parking stalls for each unit,” he said.
Schmidt said a combination of trees along the east edge and keeping hard surfaces away from the property line would serve as a buffer to adjacent properties.
Maria Antink, who owns property on Duluth Avenue, questioned the impact of additional traffic to the area, as well as what the speed limit would be and who would enforce it by the development.
“The development – I don’t have a problem with it,” she said. “I just have concerns about the traffic.”
Olejniczak said the roadway to the south of the site is a private-road easement recorded more than 100 years ago.
“It’s pretty unclear as to exactly who owns it,” he said. “The best that I know is that I think all abutting property owners have a right to use it, and they would be responsible for maintaining it. It’s definitely not a city street, and in fact, that strip of land is still in the Town of Nasewaupee. It’s private, so I’m guessing even Nasewaupee wouldn’t have any authority to enforce anything like speed limits on it.”
Olejniczak said he believes abutting property owners would be responsible for maintaining the roadway and enforcing the speed limit on it, but if the easement wouldn’t benefit the apartment development, the project could still proceed with two access points to the north roadway.
“It’s anticipated that no further traffic improvements will be needed on Duluth Avenue to accommodate traffic entering and exiting from this development,” he said. “As far as speed limits, yeah, that’s a concern all over the city, and I can sympathize. That street [on Duluth] probably has cars moving faster than the speed limit, compared to most places, because it’s a connector to get where you want to get to.”
Mayor David Ward said the Sturgeon Bay Police Department has put up a portable speed-limit sign along Duluth Avenue to indicate how fast motorists are driving, and two to three days a week, an officer will be parked along Duluth looking for speeders.
“Speeding is an issue all over the city,” Ward said.