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Whitewater considers changes to comprehensive plan

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Kevin Hoffman
September 22, 2010
— An amendment to Whitewater’s comprehensive plan that would aid in allowing a four-story student complex breezed through its first obstacle Tuesday.

Whitewater Common Council showed little opposition to modifying its land-use designation for a property on North Prince Street adjacent to UW-Whitewater. A petition was filed by a New York-based developer to rezone the land for “high density residential” in hopes of construction new student housing.


A public hearing was held but lasted seconds. Nobody from the community appeared to voice support or opposition to the change.


Tuesday was the amendment’s first reading.


“It’s really clear that this property will not be institutional use,” District 3 Alderman Jim Winship said. “At some point in the future, it’s going to be used for housing. What we’re doing tonight is clearing the way for something that may happen in the future.”


The city’s Plan and Architectural Review Commission in August heard details of a proposed 48-unit, 170-bed apartment complex at 234 N. Prince St.


Erik Steffensen, representing the developer United Group Corp., described a complex similar to the new Starin Hall suites. He said each room has four bedrooms, two baths and a full kitchen. They also come furnished with beds, dressers and desks.


The commission raised concerns about available parking and green space but saw no harm in requesting the council to modify the comprehensive plan. As it’s zoned now, the project would require about 173 parking stalls, City Planner Mark Roeffers said.


A public hearing was held prior to Steffensen’s presentation to the commission. About 35 people attended and gave generally positive feedback, he said.


Though final passage would indirectly allow the project to move forward, it’s still miles from reality.


Another public hearing is required and change of the land use would have to win approval of the zoning commission and common council.


Council member Marilyn Kienbaum was the only vote against the amendment.


Also Tuesday, the council unanimously rejected a jaywalking ordinance that would have hit students with a mandatory $50 fine.


Winship called it a selective ordinance that would unfairly apply to a small percentage of Whitewater’s population. The council also believed it would create bad relations between the city and university.



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