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Germantown gives Blackstone Creek developers some flexibility

Rezoning allows for commercial and residential buildings

April 3, 2012

Germantown - It was up to the Germantown Village Board on Monday to decide whether to agree to a zoning change that could allow a developer to add commercial properties to its proposed residential housing development.

Tarantino & Company, the developers of Blackstone Creek, asked for a mixed-use rezoning of about 25 acres of the 254-acre planned development district. The area in question is located north of the Mequon and Division roads intersection. Planning and zoning Administrator Jeff Retzlaff said a mixed-use zone allows for more creative design, as well as the development of restaurants, a brew pub, a medical and dental center, and additional office space.

The Village Board voted, with Trustee Art Zabel opposed, to rezone the property from one- and two-family residential (RD-2) to B-1, mixed-use zoning. They also voted to place a senior housing overlay on the area to provide the developer guidelines regarding setbacks and density in the proposed senior housing.

Access to Division included

The proposal includes expanding the commercial mixed-use to 37 acres and increasing the commercial retail space to approximately 82,000 square feet from the originally proposed 79,000 square feet.

"Now, we're looking at a proposal that allows for slightly more retail and Division Road access," Retzlaff said.

The development calls for 244 residential units for independent senior and assisted living. The rough estimate of dwellings include: 120 units for senior independent living, 60 units of assisted living, 32 units for government care or skilled nursing and 32 cohousing units. The plan also increases the number of parking stalls and creates a new access roadway onto Division Road.

"We think it creates a great opportunity for the residents that will live there," said Jim Tarantino, owner of Tarantino & Co. "We want our folks to use the commercial and retail that's being developed."

Trustees debated for more than an hour whether the mixed-use zoning change was allowing too much flexibility to the developer.

"You don't have any requirements in B1 zoning that handles the elderly," Trustee Al Vanderheiden said. "The way it's being offered tonight, we can do anything we want, and I think that's wrong."

To mitigate these concerns, the elderly housing overlay was implemented.

"This doesn't mean they have to have a definitive line through their property, it just means they will follow density and setbacks as laid out by the PDD," Vanderheiden said.

Part of a larger plan

This development is one piece of a much larger puzzle. Retzlaff said the 25 acres of mixed-use zoning is a product of the acquisition proposal that involves Blackstone Creek Golf Club owners Frank Romano and Troy Schmidt, the village and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. MMSD seeks to acquire 131 acres of the 188 acre golf course that straddles the Menomonee River. The area will remain undeveloped for flood management protection. Germantown also seeks to acquire 24 acres of the golf course.

"This is one leg of a three-part stool," Village President Dean Wolter said.

The remaining 25 acres of the golf course was the area in question Monday night. Trustees voted in 2006 to create the planned development district for the 254-acre property known as Blackstone Creek.

Zabel remained unconvinced of the zoning change, saying he did not feel comfortable with zoning that does not define specifics, including setbacks and density.

The board voted on a second agenda item Monday detailing the area known as the "shops" at Blackstone Creek. They voted to send updated details of the commercial area, including type of businesses allowed and density, back to the planning commission for review. It is also to be brought back to the Village Board.

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