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#TosaLogCabin Development: Help Our Neighbors Be Heard

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On January 18th, 2018, the Plan Commission voted to approve the latest plan for development of 2515 Wauwatosa (the “Log Cabin”) with recommendations. We feel that these recommendations were insufficient and that this development plan remains disrespectful to adjacent neighbors and inappropriate for this neighborhood.

We ask you, our alders and Mayor, to support the residents near the Log Cabin who have lived there and paid property taxes for decades. Their quality of life and property values should not be compromised so that a developer can make his goals for profit. 

A disproportionately large, high-density apartment building is being proposed at the site of the Frederick D. Underwood log cabin at 2515 N. Wauwatosa Ave on the corner of Wright St. and Wauwatosa Ave. across from the Wauwatosa Cemetery. The developer is Mr. Chris Houden of Palisade Property, LLC Madison, WI. This letter concerns the architectural proposal created by Kahler Slater dated 12/13/2017.

This building is still 35 times the size of the neighboring home to the west, and 10 feet from his property line.

The current design is:
26,106 square feet, 3 stories plus underground parking added height (45’ tall average); 27 units: 3 studio, 18 1BR, 2 1BR+, 4 2BR; 34 spaces for parking.  

Here are links to the latest plans for this site, as of February 12, 2018:
2515 Revised Application
2515 Revised Plans

We believe this proposal is out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood, is intrusive and disrespectful to the adjacent and nearby residents and fails to conform to the City's Comprehensive Plan. Its bulk is too much for this neighborhood.

This apartment building would be 35 times the size of the home to the west with only a 10’ setback from the neighbor’s property. This is inadequate. The Plan Commission recommends that the setback would be increased to 15’, but this would still be inadequate. 

The height of the building is still three stories, listed as an average of 45’ in the plans. The high point of the design reach 45’. This makes this building 2 to 3.5 times higher than the neighboring 1-1.5 story homes on the block.

While the setback to the neighbor to the north was increased by an additional 15”, a sun study revealed that the proposed apartment building would BLOCK DIRECT SUNLIGHT on the house to the north for three months out of the year during the winter months when they need sunlight the most.

The revised plan is designed with what appears to be a ROOF DECK space facing Wright Ave. on the second story, looking over the block’s 1-1.5 story homes. The residents are concerned about their privacy.

With only one parking spot per unit for 30 out of the 34 units, the allotted parking for this building is insufficient. If couples or families were to rent 30 out of the 34 units, they would have ONLY ONE spot per unit available to them. There is no overnight parking allowed in this neighborhood. There is no plan for visitor parking. Where are people going to park?

We believe a development of this density would unnecessarily increase traffic at one of the City’s busiest pedestrian and bicycle crosswalks by Roosevelt Elementary and Longfellow Middle School which already includes St. Pius X Church and the future Lutheran Prep High school.

Concerns about the traffic for that corner that is the crosswalk for Roosevelt, Longfellow, and the forthcoming High School at Pius have not been addressed.  

We ask you to follow the Wauwatosa Historic Preservation Committee's recommendation to protect this historically significant building.

Included here are excerpts from the City of Wauwatosa’s Comprehensive Plan whose purpose is to “guide the ‘character’ of future development and redevelopment.” As residents of Wauwatosa, we do not believe this proposal by Mr. Houden satisfies the following guidelines, among others, stated in the City’s comprehensive plan:

From “City of Wauwatosa Comprehensive Plan Volume Two: Policies & Recommendations” Adopted December 16th, 2008:

p.105-106 Overall Land Use Policies
4. Ensure logical transitions between potentially incompatible land uses. Whenever possible, avoid locating potentially conflicting land uses adjacent to each other. Where necessary, buffer potentially incompatible uses through landscaped buffers, open space uses, or less intensive uses.

p. 136 Policies
3. Ensure that redevelopment and infill development in existing neighborhoods complements the character and scale of existing homes while still allowing for neighborhood reinvestment.

p.137 Support Multi-Family Housing Options:
Too often, community resistance to higher density housing is a result of people’s experience with poorly designed multi-family developments that do not reflect the character of the community, or are generally unattractive. To address these issues, the City will continue to enforce design standards for these types of developments, and ensure that the scale of such developments is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

We address this letter to:
James Moldenhauer, Alderman - District 1
Matt Stippich, Alderman -  District 1
Kathleen Causier, Alderwoman - District 2
John Dubinski, Alderman - District 2
Tim Hanson, Alderman - District 3
Nancy Welch, Alderwoman - District 3
Dennis McBride, Alderman - District 4
Michael G. Walsh, Alderman - District 4
Bobby Pantuso, Alderman - District 5
Joel Tilleson, Alderman - District 5
Kelly Rifelj, Alderwoman - District 6
Allison L. Byrne, Alderwoman - District 6
Cheryl Berdan, Alderwoman - District 7
Jason Kofroth, Alderman - District 7
Jason Wilke, Alderman - District 8
Craig Wilson, Alderman - District 8
Kathleen Ehly, Mayor
Phil Ertl, Superintendent
Carla Ledesma, City Clerk

Thank you for your concern for your neighbors.  

#TosaLogCabin   #HelpOurNeighborsBeHeard

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