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Village wants public input on housing, land use plan PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 18:49

June 8 workshop will discuss proposed changes to ratios for single, multi-family development

The Village of Grafton is continuing to seek public input as it prepares to update its comprehensive plan for housing and land-use options.
The update process, which began in February, will continue Wednesday, June 8, when a land-use workshop is held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Zaun Pavilion in Lime Kiln Park.
Grafton residents and property and business owners are invited to ask questions and offer suggestions in a discussion that will focus on the village’s housing mix policy and planned land-use map, as well as the Port Washington Road corridor.
The Plan Commission is overseeing the process, which will culminate in a recommendation to the Village Board late this year.
“The village is looking for direction as it prepares possible updates to the plan,”  said Jessica Wolff, Grafton’s director of planning and development.
When Grafton adopted a comprehensive plan in 2009, it 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 include 54.8% single-family, 16.6% two-family and 28.6% multi-family.
Vandewalle & Associates, a consulting firm hired by the village to assist in the plan update, has recommended establishing targets of 64% for single-family, 16% for two-family and 20% for multi-family units.
In an April report, the firm suggested four policy options for the village to consider:
A market-responsive approach, which would eliminate the current multi-family policy of allowing new multi-family development only in designated areas and allow any type of residential development.
Continue the current policy, which allows new multi-family development only in the downtown and south commercial district. This policy allows only single-family development in other areas.
Fine-grained planned neighborhoods. This approach calls for a planned mix of predominantly single-family residential development, combined with one or more land-use categories: two-family/townhouse residential, multi-family residential, institutional, and park and open-space facilities.
Large-grained planned neighborhoods. This approach calls for a mix similar to fine-grained planned neighborhoods but to determine land-use patterns in advance and identifying them on a future land-use map.
Vandewalle & Associates concluded that the market-responsive option is likely to result in the village becoming “a majority multi-family community,” while the current policy is likely to keep the village “single-family oriented.”
By contrast, the fine-grained and large-grained planned neighborhoods options would probably result in a variety of housing types, with a housing balance similar to what the village currently has, but with “a slight shift toward single family.”
However, the large-grained planned neighborhoods “will be more difficult to implement and may come with political challenges,” the report concludes.
In early May, Vandewalle & Associates interviewed more than 20 property owners, developers and other “key stakeholders” about amending the comprehensive plan.
The firm reported that most property owners believe the village is “on the right track” with development and the current multi-family policy, Grafton’s image is evolving and improving, the Port Washington Road corridor looks attractive and is highly used, and the downtown needs more activity.
Wolff said the June 8 meeting is designed to get participants involved in the planning process, help identity key directions for the village’s growth and help shape the future design and character of Grafton.
Plans call for the commission to continue discussing options this summer. A public hearing will be held in September or October, followed by a recommendation to the Village Board.

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