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Preserve the Historic Character of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Vote No this March 13th.

This petition had 221 supporters

Special interests seek to redefine the gateway to Cedarburg's historical district with massive big box apartments.

The City of Cedarburg has been asked to greenlight a project that will redefine Cedarburg for future generations.  The vision for redevelopment of the St. Francis Borgia school and church grounds, if approved, will echo development trends in downtown Milwaukee and its congested urban neighbors.  The largest landmarks in Cedarburg's 150-year-old downtown will no longer be stone-walled mills, storefronts or historic churches.  Instead, visitors to Cedarburg will be greeted by monolithic apartment complexes. The quiet homes of the neighborhood will be dwarfed by nearly 45 foot tall complexes that straddle lot lines and are filled with many dozens of apartments that stand stories taller than their neighbors.

This vision of development is right out of Milwaukee's downtown apartment boom and the developers behind the Cedarburg proposal state openly that the massive scale of this project is driven by profit motivation, without concern for the impact on the neighborhood it will dominate.

It's time to stand up for historic Cedarburg.

Tell the Mayor of Cedarburg and the Cedarburg City Council that you oppose apartment complex development in downtown Cedarburg.

The Cedarburg Common Council has scheduled a public hearing for Monday March 13, 2017 at the Cedarburg Community Center Gym at 7:00 p.m.

This hearing will provide Cedarburg citizens the opportunity to comment on a revised development plan for the former St. Francis Borgia school site and portions of the historic St. Francis Borgia church grounds. The current plan, despite claims of drastic revisions, seeks many deviations from established zoning, architectural ordinance and comprehensive plan recommendations.  

Among many items requested by developers:

1)     Precedent-setting demolition of a building in Cedarburg’s historic district. The St. Francis Borgia church rectory, recognized as a contributing component of Cedarburg’s federally-recognized Washington Avenue historic district will be replaced by a parking lot, despite a rejection of the proposal by the Cedarburg Landmarks commission.

2)     Significant reconfiguring of the historic St. Francis Borgia church grounds – reducing the available dedicated off-street parking for church services and events to just 40 parking spots for the 238 person capacity church and further congesting the crowded Hamilton Road right-of-way.

3)     Construction of high density shared hallway apartment buildings on the current site of the St. Francis Borgia school (approximately 2.38 acres). The proposed 3-story 32-unit building on Washington Avenue and 28-unit building on the south side of Hamilton Road will far exceed the height, size and density recommendations of the Cedarburg Comprehensive plan which recommends a townhouse or condo development of 5.2 to 10.8 units per acre and just 4 units per building.  Even after recent reductions by the developer, this apartment site will top 25 units per acre in a quiet neighborhood of two story family homes, an increase in density of at least 230% (and up to 480%) over current City of Cedarburg recommendations to the school site.

4)     Construction of 9 townhouse rentals on the site of the current St. Francis Borgia church parking lot on the north side of Hamilton Road.  This would remove the current 83-space lot that provides parking for morning mass, weddings and other church functions, putting added strain on an already congested Hamilton Road right-of-way.

5)     Creation of a single family lot on Spring Street on a space currently used as a driveway for the Hamilton Ave parking lot. Both this lot and the townhouse site are included in city and developer calculations to obscure the true density of the high-density apartment complex proposed for the former SFB school site. Still, the overall density of the project including the townhomes and the single family lot tops 18 units/acre, despite a Cedarburg comprehensive plan recommendation of 5.2 to 10.8 units/acre maximum.

Pressure from St. Francis Borgia trustees

In a series of emails, the trustees of St. Francis Borgia have urged city leaders to ignore the concerns of neighbors and citizens and to approve a plan that will allow them to sell the St. Francis Borgia school and parking lot to developers.

“The money SFB would receive from the sale would be used to pay down a substantial portion of our remaining mortgage on the E&AC (Town of Cedarburg School). As Trustees, we feel a responsibility to secure a deal that will prove financially beneficial to our parish.” – Trustees Jack Steinbrecker and John Schauble to SFB parishioners, SFB Weekender email newsletter, February 24, 2017

In a separate email directly to the City of Cedarburg Common Council a SFB trustee had the following to say about neighborhood concerns:

“I have watched with GREAT interest the debate and incredible pressure a small minority is placing on you in what should be a "slam dunk decision." The "NO" signs are an embarrassment for the community.” - SFB Trustee Jack Steinbrecker email to Cedarburg Mayor and Common Council, February 24, 2017.

Other emails urged Cedarburg residents to support the project on behalf of the church while omitting mention of their church affiliation.

“I invite you to send an e-mail or write a letter to your alderman, mayor, or city clerk voicing your support for the proposed apartment development on our property on Hamilton Road. E-mails addresses for aldermen and a city map are right here."

" Write in your own words, and just identify yourself as a Cedarburg resident, no more."

 "Mention if you would be inclined to live in the proposed apartments if you sold your home."

 "At this point I have been told that our aldermen are only hearing from the opposition. So I urge you to write a letter or send an e-mail.” – Father Tom Eichenberger, SFB Weekender email newsletter, February 17, 2017.


How can you help.

Learn more: Current proposals regarding the future of the St. Francis Borgia school site and historic church grounds are posted on home page of the City of Cedarburg website.

Consider attending the March 13, 2017 Public Hearing on the subject at the Cedarburg Community Center gym.  The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. and is open to all.

Sign this petition and add your comments, even if you plan to attend the public hearing. 

A full copy of all signatures and comments will be delivered to the Mayor and Cedarburg Common Council as part of the public hearing.


Copies of your signature and comments will be delivered with the following petition:

To the Mayor and City Council of the City of Cedarburg:

It's time to stand up and oppose development projects that seek special favors in the name of profits at the expense of Cedarburg's cultural heritage and way of life. 

Join us in welcoming development that fits the scale, mass and architectural character of the community. Protect the historic nature of our city by respecting the current comprehensive plan and zoning guidelines that encourage respectful infill developments that promote cohesive, unifying and appropriate architectural character while integrating harmoniously into a city nationally recognized for its historic identity.

Now is the time to lead the way and provide responsive leadership that is sensitive to the needs of the Historic Cedarburg community above the financial goals of outside interests.

Join your neighbors and constituents in strongly opposing the Proposed Land Use Plan Amendment and the re-zoning requests under consideration for the St. Francis Borgia property and submitted by HSI Properties. 

Vote No this March 13, 2017.

Today: Friends of Historic Cedarburg is counting on you

Friends of Historic Cedarburg needs your help with “Cedarburg Common Council: Preserve the Historic Character of Cedarburg, Wisconsin. Vote No this March 13th.”. Join Friends of Historic Cedarburg and 220 supporters today.