Letter to the Editor: Apartment Complex Is Wrong for a Residential Neighborhood

I am a homeowner on Little Spring Road in Fish Creek. The homes in our neighborhood are single-family residences on one-acre, wooded lots. 

A Door County zoning-map amendment application has been submitted by Michael Niss Construction that seeks to rezone 4.9 acres abutting our neighborhood to NR (Neighborhood Residential). The applicant wants to build a 46-unit apartment complex at a density of 9.3 dwelling units per acre. The complex is supposed to provide affordable housing for seasonal workers. 

The 4.9 acres are part of the Fish Creek Sanitary District No. 1 wastewater treatment plant property. There are approximately 1,200 pine trees on the 4.9 acres. The trees were planted in conjunction with the construction of the wastewater treatment facilities to create a visual buffer between surrounding single-family homes and wastewater treatment plant operations, and to mitigate odors from the plant. Under the plan, I believe all or most of the trees will be cut down for apartments. 

Approval of NR zoning would irreversibly alter the single-family character of the surrounding single-family homes. The NR zoning is incompatible with single-family and rural residential zoning on surrounding properties. It would set a detrimental zoning precedent by exposing single-family properties to future requests for apartment housing. The NR zoning is inconsistent with the adopted Door County Comprehensive Plan and the General Plan Design for the Town of Gibraltar, which show the area in low-density residential uses. 

NR zoning would diminish the market value of our homes. Also, there is no assurance that the apartment rents would be affordable for workers, and not just offered to anyone at whatever the open market dictates. 

Furthermore, the wastewater treatment plant is approaching the limits of its wastewater treatment capacity. It doesn’t make sense to locate high-density apartments – or any residential – close to the treatment plant for health and safety reasons.

The apartment complex is wrong for our neighborhood and wrong for Fish Creek! Tell the Gibraltar Town Board and the Door County Board to oppose this ill-conceived and poorly located proposed apartment complex.

Richard B. Untch
Fish Creek, Wisconsin