The Janesville Plan Commission approved three separate measures Monday that could facilitate a 115-unit multifamily development, pending final approval from the city council.
The proposed residential project, called Diamond Ridge, would be located on part of the former youth baseball fields site near the intersection of Woodman Road and Mount Zion Avenue. The market-rate project would feature six two-story buildings and include one-, two- and three-bedroom units in each building.
A zoning change and the borders for a proposed tax increment financing district will now head to the council for approval at its Aug. 26 meeting.
The plan commission also approved a preliminary site review that included requests for a few minor changes. The final site plan will remain with the plan commission and does not need council action.
The proposed new TIF district would include the Diamond Ridge site and several other properties along both sides of Milton Avenue, extending north to Kennedy Road. Creation of the TIF would also mean a public incentive for Diamond Ridge.
The plan commission did not discuss at length the financial terms of the incentive, but Economic Development Director Gale Price said developer Horizon Development is requesting $3.6 million to help cover the estimated $17 million project.
The TIF package will also be discussed at the council’s Aug. 26 meeting.
Construction of Diamond Ridge would begin this fall and proceed east to west. Senior Planner Brian Schweigl said Horizon will try to build foundations for each building before winter.
The current goal is to have the entire project finished by the end of 2020, but weather will dictate the timeline, he said.
Part of the project will include the extension of Mayfair Drive through the property. The street currently has dead ends on each side of the old baseball fields.
The city heard from a couple of residents concerned about the addition of traffic to the neighborhood. The public hearing Monday featured only one person clearly opposed to the project. Neighbor Helen Anderson cited the possible traffic increase as one of her concerns.
City staff thinks the traffic impact would not be significant and that most people would use the Woodman Road entrance rather than Mayfair Drive, Schweigl said.
The Woodman Road entrance will be close to existing commercial buildings.
Scott Kwiecinski of Horizon Development said the company has done outreach with neighbors, including a neighborhood meeting in January and knocking on doors this summer.
Those who attended the January meeting did not have an adamant opinion for or against the project. Most seemed open to it.
Horizon plans to retain management of Diamond Ridge once it is completed. The company manages a few other buildings in Janesville, including the First Senior I and Senior II buildings on East Milwaukee Street, Kwiecinski said.
The biggest change Horizon must make before the final site review returns to the plan commission is finding bushes or fencing that adequately screen the property. Horizon planned to minimize bushes because neighbors said they didn’t want to be completely walled off, but city staff said such a plan was insufficient.