The Plan Commission unanimously recommended a new downtown apartment development for approval at a meeting Monday.
The proposed development is between 202 to 210 N. Bassett St. and 512 to 520 W. Dayton St. The permit for the development allows three residences and an office building to be demolished in the area to make room for the new apartments.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, represents the area of this new development and said his neighborhood had a large meeting about it. He added the residents of the area did not express many concerns.
“I’m very much in support of this application, as is the neighborhood,” Verveer said. “This application [fits well] with the recently adopted Downtown Plan and will be a very good addition to the Mifflin neighborhood.”
One of the only issues with the development is bike and moped parking, Verveer said.
Randy Bruce, managing member of Knothe and Bruce Architects, said some comments about the development asked for more flexible parking stalls that are primarily automobile stalls, rather than for mopeds. He said some additional moped stalls can be allocated on the surface of the site.
“We’d like to make moped parking a requirement only as a demonstrated need,” Bruce said.
He added some things can be changed after it is demonstrated moped parking spaces are necessary.
Bruce also said there are numerous spaces on the northwest corner of the area reserved strictly for bicycles that he would like to see changed to allow for additional moped parking. He said there is a possibility for hanging bicycle space in front of the automobiles in the parking garage as well.
Verveer said wall-mounted bike racks have been highly successful downtown, and he encouraged the development of more in the area.
The University of Wisconsin Transportation Services, according to Verveer, greatly discourages the use of moped use by students on campus. He said they substantially revised the moped parking policy on campus this semester.
For the past several years, people downtown were able to park their mopeds in any of the designated parking lots with one master permit, but they are no longer able to do so, Verveer said. Since Sept. 1, students have only been allowed to purchase a permit to park in one lot on campus, he added.
Another concern facing these new apartment developments is price.
“We’ve experienced a very robust amount of new apartments proposed downtown and, overall, that’s a good thing,” Verveer said. “The one concern was if the new apartments will be terribly more expensive than the ones they’re replacing.”
However, Verveer said the new addition is popular overall because it provides more student housing opportunities downtown.
A motion to increase occupancy of units in an existing apartment building at 1329 W. Dayton St. was referred to the next Plan Commission meeting, Dec. 17.
The City Council will have the final vote on the Bassett and Dayton apartment building at a meeting Dec. 11. Verveer said almost all of the time, recommendations from the Plan Commission are approved by the City Council.
Several additions and alterations to the Downtown Urban Design Guidelines for New Development were also adopted at the meeting.