Design Review Board endorses plan for 69-unit complex on west side that has been criticized by some residents
A proposal to construct a 69-unit apartment building that includes units designed for people with autism was recommended for approval Tuesday by Port Washington’s Design Review Board.
The plan has met with some resistance from neighboring property owners concerned about everything from building mass and location, but it was recommended unanimously by the board.
“I think it’s a great project,” Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven, the board chairman, said. “Port Washington’s really fortunate to have this here. There are a zillion good things to say about it.”
Board member Brenda Fritsch concurred, saying the project fits the property and will provide needed housing and services.
Twelve of the units in the building would be designed for people with autism, with the remainder of the units open to the general public renting market rates, Architect Jason Korb said.
The unit for those with autism will be grouped together to accommodate the services these tenants need, he said. There will be areas for people sensitive to light and sound, places for people to be calm and quiet and areas where they can let off steam.
Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, noted that Cardinal Capital Management, which is building the project, is still negotiating with Ozaukee County to purchase the 6-acre site, which is part of the former highway LL and 33 ramp on the city’s west side.
The plan calls for a three-story apartment building along the east side of the site and a single-story clinic on the southwest side of the property. The 8,000-square-foot clinic, which is to be run by the Milwaukee Center for Independence, would provide services for people with autism.
“When you put it forward as an almost 70-unit apartment building, it sounds huge,” Korb acknowledged.
However, he said, almost 80% of the land will be open space.
“The vision for the land is to use it as an amenity,” Korb said, with trails, a greenhouse and an equestrian corral.
Horses would not be kept on the land, but could be brought in for therapy sessions, he said.
There will be underground parking for residents, with overflow parking in the lot at the two-story wellness center on the west side of the lot. This will minimize the amount of asphalt and maximize green space on the property, Korb said.
The roof of the apartment building will generally be below the height of the bluff on the west side of the property, Korb said, providing a buffer to the subdivision to the west. A tree line there will also serve as a buffer.
The building design has been tweaked a little, Korb said. Because it is almost 400 feet long, the northern portion of the structure is set at an angle to give it the appearance of two separate buildings.
The joint, or “knuckle,” has been set back two feet more than originally proposed to help with that, he said — a suggestion made by city officials.
Tadhg McInerney of Cardinal Capital Development told the board that, although the building won’t be a LEED certified structure, it will be “a green building.”
The final building and site plan will go to the Plan Commission Thursday, March 16, for approval.
Image Information: THIS RENDERING BY Korb + Associates Architects shows the view from Highway LL of a proposed 69-unit apartment building with market-rate housing that incorporates units for people with autism.