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Decision on Mayfair apartment proposal delayed by Wauwatosa plan panel

Neighboring residents strongly oppose 134-unit project

Dec. 11, 2013

Plans for a five-story, 134-unit apartment building on Mayfair Road near Highway 45 were delayed this week after neighbors raised objections to the mass of the structure, traffic concerns and safety in the alley behind it.

However, Plan Commission members, while agreeing to a one-month delay for more information on density, safety, shading and other issues, generally reacted favorably to the development.

Under the plans, building owner John Czarnecki would demolish two underutilized buildings at 2050 and 2100 N. Mayfair Road and replace them with a complex of one and two-bedroom apartments, with on-site covered parking for 200 cars.

Because the block has no driveway entrances on Mayfair — the entrances were removed and made impermissible by Zoo Interchange work — cars would enter the structure through the alley behind the building, an alley that opens onto garages of residents on 107th Street, one block east of Mayfair.

Adam Hamilton, a resident of 107th Street, said he has enough trouble backing out of his garage as it is. With 200 more cars coming and going, and a parking ramp of the proposed building emptying out in front of his garage, it would be even more difficult and dangerous.

"If you're funneling 200-plus cars in and out all day, and my child walks into that alleyway ... it scares me beyond words," he said.

Vehicle traffic was a concern for other residents who spoke, as were pets, which the building would allow; blocked sunlight, lack of green space; the use of an alley as a regular route; and other issues.

Don Baker and John Morack said Fisher Parkway, which provides a perimeter to the neighborhood, would be particularly affected.

"Right now we have traffic 8 (a.m.) to 6 (p.m.), sometimes a little more in the alley," said Douglas Cox, of 107th Street, in a house adjacent to the alley. "Now we'll be looking at traffic 24/7."

Cox said his view of the sky would be lost.

Residents of the apartments "get a beautiful building and a beautiful view. What do we get in exchange for our taxes? We get to see the back of a building."

The site is problematic, in that any use of it would depend on entrance through the alley, noted Plan Commission member Angela Mullooly.

Pat Hall, hired by the developer for a traffic study surrounding the building, said an apartment complex would increase traffic into and out of the alley but possibly less than if the building was used for offices. And, he said, apartments generally create less traffic, especially for one-bedroom residences, than single-family homes.

The Plan Commission will take this up again in January.

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