Board likes plan for apartments on Port’s west side

But developer expects Hidden Hills proposal will spark opposition from subdivision residents
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

A proposal by Bielinski Homes to construct a 35-unit apartment building and three duplexes on Sweetwater Boulevard at the entrance to the Hidden Hills subdivision on Port Washington’s west side was endorsed Tuesday by the city’s Design Review Board.

However, the representative of Bielinski Homes warned that the plan is likely to meet with opposition from neighbors in the subdivision.

“The issue here is going to be the use. I know it’s going to be a major challenge,” said Bielinski representative John Donovan, noting there was significant opposition in the subdivision to the company’s plan to build senior apartments on a nearby lot facing Highway 33.

“There was a lot of opposition,” he said.

The lots in question are on the east side of Sweetwater Boulevard, just north of Highway 33.

They were originally envisioned for commercial uses, Donovan said, adding the land will have to be rezoned for multifamily housing.

“We don’t have any users,” he said. “It’s been sitting there a long time.”

The plan calls for the apartment building to be located closest to the intersection with Highway 33, with the townhouses constructed directly to the north, with the northernmost building across from the driveway leading to a small strip mall.

The multifamily buildings would serve as a transition from the highway to the single-family houses in the subdivision, Donovan said.

The apartment building would be virtually the same design as the senior apartments, Donovan said, but with different finishes so it will not look identical.

It would have a mix of one and two-bedroom units and underground parking for tenants, he said, while the townhouses would have three bedrooms and two-car garages. 

They would all be market-priced, Donovan said.

Recalling the opposition to the senior apartments — which he said are expected to be under construction this year and ready for leasing next year — Donovan said Bielinski is only seeking approval for the use of the land right now.

If approved by the city, the company will then hold meetings with the neighbors before refining the design and coming to the city for final approval, he said.

“I just hope people have an open mind,” he said. “It’s going to come down to if the city is willing to consider another apartment building.”

Donovan said many people don’t realize that apartments are in demand.

“The connotation of apartments has changed,” he said. “It is more costly to live in an apartment than a home in many cases.”

  “This seems like a reasonable use to me,” committee member Jeremy Hartline said.

The concept will go to the Plan Commission for consideration at 6 p.m. 

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