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Board backs ‘fine-grained’ housing plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 03 August 2016 19:12

Village trustees voice support for development guidelines that call for continued emphasis on single-family residential

The Grafton Village Board on Monday endorsed the first draft of a comprehensive plan calling for future residential development that emphasizes single-family housing.

Concurring with input from the Plan Commission and a consultant’s recommendation, the seven-member board voiced unanimous support for fine-grained planned neighborhoods in new development.

Fine-grained planned neighborhoods  would require each residential project to have at least 64% single-family and no more than 16% two-family and 20% multifamily housing.

Those ratios are included in one of several options being considered by the village as it works with Vandewalle & Associates to update the comprehensive plan for housing and other land uses, including along the Port Washington Road corridor.

“The goal is to get (the amendment) done by the end of the year, and we’re definitely on track for that,” said Jessica Wolff, Grafton’s director of planning and development.

On July 26, Vandewalle & Associates representatives Mike Slavney and Jackie Mich unveiled the first full draft of the amendment to the Plan Commission, which offered feedback.

The commission favors fine-grained planned neighborhoods, whose ratios closely mirror the village’s long-term goals in its current comprehensive plan.

Adopted in 2009, the plan set a goal of having single-family housing comprise 68% of all residential development. The policy was designed to return the village to its historic housing balance.

According to a 2014 community survey, the village’s 4,960 housing units included 54.8% single-family, 16.6% two-family and 28.6% multifamily.

In addition to the fine-grained approach, consultants asked the commission to consider several other development options:

n Large-grained planned neighborhoods. This approach has a housing mix similar to fine-grained but calls for determining land-use patterns in advance and designating them on a future land-use map.

n A market-response approach, which would eliminate the current policy of allowing new multifamily development only in designated areas and allow any type of residential development.

n Continuing the current plan, which allows new multifamily development only in the downtown and south commercial district. Only single-family development is permitted in other areas.

In its report, Vandewalle & Associates states that the fine-grained and large-grained options would probably result in a variety of housing types, with a residential balance similar to what the village currently has but with “a slight shift toward single family.”

However, the large-grained approach “will be more difficult to implement and may come with political challenges,” the report concludes.

In preparation for the report, the consulting firm interviewed more than 20 property owners, developers and other “key stakeholders” about amending the comprehensive plan. Officials also received public input at a June 8 workshop and Plan Commission meetings.

At Monday’s meeting, Village President and Plan Commission Chairman Jim Brunnquell said he supports the fine-grained approach.

“Fine-grained gives the village a lot more flexibility for development,” Brunnquell said. “Based on feedback from the community, it was certainly supported.”

In reviewing the village’s future land-use map, the commission concurred with the consultants’ recommendation to limit multifamily development to the south commercial district and downtown, as well as small-scale projects at designated sites.

The commission also supports proposed land uses in the Port Washington Road corridor, among them:

n Office and professional services in an area south of Highway V and west of I-43.

n Retail and office uses in a triangle of land north of Arrowhead Road, east of Port Washington Road and west of I-43.

n Office and institutional uses north of  Aurora Medical Center on land earmarked for expansion of the medical campus.

n Retail and commercial uses south of Arrowhead Road on both sides of I-43, on both sides of Port Washington Road south of existing development on Highway 60, and east of I-43 between the railroad tracks north of Falls Road.

At the July 26 Plan Commission meeting, developer Anthony Polson of Blackcap Halcyon presented a concept plan for a mixed-use project on Port Washington Road calling for a blend of townhouses, apartments and small-scale commercial buildings as well as a special-event facility.

The Merrion at Grafton, proposed for a 46-acre parcel south of Cornerstone Church, would include 28 two-story townhouses and four three-story apartment buildings with 44 units apiece.

The project was not formally considered by the commission because it calls for multifamily development not allowed in the 2009 comprehensive plan or the draft amendment.

“I invited them to come to the Plan Commission to show what a large-grained development would look like,” Brunnquell said.

Trustee Tom Krueger suggested the village consider a large-grained residential approach that could provide more development options such as The Merrion at Grafton.

“I personally thought that it was an exciting project,” Krueger said.

Krueger also voiced concern that the village might not be getting enough input from residents in preparing the plan amendment.

“How many people really know about this?” he asked.

Brunnquell said several dozen people attended the workshop, with many offering input and asking questions.

Plans call for the Plan Commission to continue reviewing amendment options and make a recommendation Aug. 23.

The Village Board is then scheduled to hold a public hearing Oct. 3, followed by possible adoption of the amendment Oct. 17.

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