As Door County finalizes the grant application that would contribute $1.4 million to develop the West Side School into an apartment building, the City of Sturgeon Bay is preparing for the required review process.
The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will hold a public hearing and meeting Jan. 20 on granting the conditional use permit that would allow the developer, Northpointe Development, to proceed. The developer intends to turn the vacant, historic 17 West Pine Street former school building into 15-17 one- and two-bedroom apartments. Just over half the units would be rented at rates that are affordable for low- to moderate-income individuals and families.
The land is already zoned R4 for multifamily residential use. However, the city’s zoning code requires that multifamily buildings with more than eight units obtain the conditional use permit.
This is Northpointe’s second attempt to create housing out of the vacant school building. The first attempt – which was scuttled when the developer didn’t receive tax credits to make the project work – included an addition for more apartments. The addition would have used the adjacent ball field, which was not a popular idea among ball-field lovers.
This time, only the existing building would be used. Still, Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak said the city often receives objections from neighbors to any multifamily project because “like it or not, when you hear ‘low income,’ people freak out,” Olejniczak said.
Administrators for both the county and city are excited about the project because it repurposes an old building while also filling a need for housing.
The developer is the same one the city has selected to work with to construct an apartment complex on the West Waterfront.