Update: Here is a frequently asked questions document.
More than 200 people attended Monday’s public information meeting for the proposed St. Adalbert’s apartments, and that was the first of a number of opportunities for residents to learn more about the project and have their voices heard.
Indeed, that is my promise: continued open and honest communication as we move through the process.
Monday’s meeting was more about learning about the development and developer, getting questions answered about project details. It lasted about 90 minutes.
- You can see the presentation Gorman & Co. gave here.
- And look for a more detailed Q&A document, with answers to questions raised at Monday’s meeting, to be posted soon on that same page.
So, what’s next? The South Milwaukee Plan Commission will consider the project at its Oct. 27 meeting, when it may make a formal recommendation to the full city council on the rezoning request by Gorman. The council would then take up the issue and potentially schedule an official public hearing. After that hearing, a final vote by the council may not happen until early 2015.
As we go through the process, I also want to share a message I shared at Monday’s meeting — about what the city can and can’t consider in deciding on this project.
By law, there are strict limits as to what we can consider when it comes to a request for rezoning, as Gorman & Co. is seeking. For example, under zoning law (Wis. Stats. 62.23(7)), the common council can regulate the:
- Height of a building;
- Number of stories and size of buildings and other structures;
- The percentage of lot that may be occupied;
- The size of yards and other open spaces;
- The density of population;
- And the location and use of buildings, structures and land.
In deciding this, the statutes are also clear as to what we can’t consider in making our decision. We cannot consider who lives there, how much money they earn or where they earn that money (as long as it’s a lawful occupation). In other words, whether the development is for rich or poor or middle-income residents is not, and can not, be a consideration in zoning matters.
Furthermore, we must uphold South Milwaukee’s commitment to fair, non-discriminatory housing. This city ordinance reads in part: “It is the declared policy of this City that all persons shall have an equal opportunity for housing regardless of sex, race, color, sexual orientation, disability, religion, national origin, marital status, family status, lawful source of income, age or ancestry.”
Simply, we can’t discriminate. Nor should we. Not just because it’s against the law. It’s also the right thing to do.
I think those parameters are important to know as the debate picks up in coming weeks.