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Fisher residents stand against five-story apartment proposal

March 25, 2014

Residents of Wauwatosa's Fisher Parkway area continue to stand strongly opposed to a development proposal for a five-story apartment building that they are concerned could ruin the quiet, safe neighborhood they call home.

More than a dozen residents spoke out against the 134-unit apartment complex proposed at 2100 N. Mayfair Road, just north of Highway 45, during a Common Council public hearing Tuesday, with many others present in opposition.

Among residents' chief concerns is that the development, proposed to be accessed via a 20-foot-wide alleyway shared with neighboring homes, would increase traffic and noise while reducing safety, privacy and available sunlight in their backyards.

"Our fear is that if this high-rise apartment building goes up on Mayfair Road near Garfield, the character of our quiet and safe community could be impacted in an intrusive and unsafe way," said resident Randall Walter, who owns a home in the 10100 block of West Fisher Parkway.

With no traffic access from Garfield to southbound Mayfair Road, apartment building vehicle traffic seeking an alternate route may to be diverted to the neighborhood's south-to-north streets, Walter continued, as well as east through the alleyway onto Fisher Parkway, making the road into more of a thoroughfare.

Although developer John Czarnecki stated during the public hearing that a recent traffic study of the area shows the proposed apartment complex would have about the same traffic impact and result in similar cut-through traffic in the neighborhood as the site's existing office building would if stabilized at 90 percent occupancy, residents were not convinced.

"Seventy-five percent or more of the traffic generated by this building will pass less than four feet from my backyard," said Doug Cox, who resides in the 2100 block of North 107th Street just behind the proposed development.

"This six-story building does not fit this property or traffic flow," Cox added. "You must say no."

The Plan Commission's 4-1 recommendation last month to approve the preliminary plan for the project is subject to the developer meeting several conditions related to addressing traffic concerns, including installing a stop sign for cars exiting the complex parking lot, setting the speed limit at 15 mph, painting lane lines in the alley and addressing stormwater and snow removal concerns, among others.

Even with those proposed changes, concerns remained about how the development could impact families' backyard activities.

"It sickens me to my core, in my stomach, that I have to worry about my child in my backyard with 200 cars funneled at her if she happens to wander out of the garage," said neighbor Adam Hammelman.

Beyond concerns about child safety, others commented on the fact that the building would block sunlight from reaching the yards, which could affect gardening, landscaping and general quality of life. Some residents suggested the development might be more appropriate if it could be scaled down to something more modest, such as a three-story building.

As proposed, most of the development would be five stories high, with some areas reaching six stories. Units would be divided into about 117 one-bedroom apartments and 17 two-bedroom apartments, situated above two levels of enclosed parking. A surface parking lot would provide 23 parking spots, in addition to the 178 enclosed parking spaces.

Czarnecki has said he plans to invest $20 million in the approximately 1.4-acre site, raising its value from about $1 million to an estimated $17 million when complete.

The Common Council took no action on the proposal, which is being referred to the Community Development Committee for further discussion and possible action next week. Should the committee make a recommendation on the development, it would come back to the Common Council for consideration April 1.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: Community Development Committee meeting

WHEN: 8 p.m. March 25

WHERE: City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave.

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