City Plan Commission meeting report

Artist’s Rendering – Celebre Place

At tonight’s City Plan Commission meeting, there were three agenda items discussed.

The first had to do with the Celebre Place Assisted Living Facility at 1870 – 27th Avenue.  Representatives from the facility distributed copies of their presentation, which contained pictures of the facility.  Alderpersons Rocco LaMacchia, David Bogdala, and G. John Ruffolo spoke during the public hearing.  All agree it’s a fabulous building.  The issue before the commission was the addition of the definition of the word “elderly” to the deed restriction.  The definition is “age 55 and up” to coincide with Chapter 12 of the city’s zoning ordinance.  The representatives had no problem with the addition of the language, since they said that the average age of their residents is 80.  Most are in their 80’s and 90’s.

Alderperson Anthony Kennedy stated that he’d support it.  He did state that we’ve been building a lot of senior housing, and he was concerned about the capacity once these facilities were filled.  He stated that “he’s been seeing a migration in the housing stock, from senior housing, to assisted living, to hospice, and all of this without city approval.”  He said that he’d like to see more deed restrictions as they move forward.

The issue received unanimous approval by the commission.  The Common Council will have the final approval on November 5th.

The second issue had to do with the conditional use permit for the new public safety communication tower to be located at 6210 – 60th Street.  John Wollencamp, the architect, spoke.  His requests were to remove the barbed wire and have the building made with aggregate material, not masonry.

Two residents, William Anderson and Don Edward, spoke.  They are not against the tower; they are just against the proposed location.  Their issues were the use of the driveway, the possibility of ice falling on cars on 60th Street, and the possibility of the tower itself falling.

Ray Arbet, public works director for Kenosha County, addressed the concerns raised by the two residents.  The airport went through a full Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review process, and it was approved last week.  As far as the tower’s location relative to 60th Street the proposed location is safer.  They do want to keep the tower located on 60th Street because it’s the geographic bi-section of the county.  The access point driveway is only access for service, approximately 6 to 10 times a year, not daily.  The site that was proposed was close enough to the road for it to be visible, but not prominent.  The concern is that if someone were to be climbing the barbed wire, that it would be seen.

Arbet said, “This is the heart of radio operations located in this building.  It is a key piece of wireless infrastructure for the police department, the fire department, and the sheriff’s department.  It will last for decades.  The current tower is 40 to 50 years old.  It was not a 2012 budgeted item.  We got the funding to address the tower this year.  The FAA, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the city, and county staff, have all been working together on this issue to get it done before the snow flies.  That is still our goal.”

Richard Schroeder, city development staff, showed a quick video of the site.  They did receive the FAA letter, which states that there is no hazard.  Flashing lights are needed.  He stated that the barbed wire fence is not needed.  Schroeder also stated that both materials, the exposed aggregate panels, and the brick-like look, are both acceptable under the ordinance.

Alderperson Jan Michalski asked if falling ice was an issue with any other towers.  Arbet said that ice will build up on these towers, but he didn’t think that ice was an issue.  Michalski also wanted to know what other buildings were on the Nash Park property now.  The baseball field has a building, and the rest room building are currently on the property.  Michalski thought that the surface of the buildings should be compatible with existing buildings.  Wollencamp said that for a $38,000 structure, using the stamped concrete would cost $7,000 to $9,000 more.  All voted to use the stone aggregate panels to save the county some money.

Alderperson Kevin Mathewson discussed the barbed wire issue.  It’s the county’s request to have the barbed wire.  The city recommends not having it.  Arbet said that every site has a similar arrangement.  They want the barbed wire as a “teen vandal” deterrent, basically a security issue.  The fencing would be six feet high, there would be 18 inches of barbed wire, and the walls of the building are eight feet high.  Mayor Keith Bosman said that he had no problem with the barbed wire for this “vital communications equipment.” All voted to allow the barbed wire.

Kennedy asked again about the permit cost.  Kennedy wanted something added to the ordinance to provide relief when there is a benefit to both the city and county traffic.  Jeff LaBahn, director of city development, stated that they could.  Kennedy also suggested the possibility of having the driveway gated.  Schroeder said that this could also be added.

Kennedy also had an issue with conditional use permits coming before the commission.  If they are different than what’s being presented, he’d like to receive the differences in writing before the meeting, so that he can have time to review them.  In this way, if there are exceptions, then they can come up before the commissioners get to the meeting.  This was merely a direction to staff on a go forward basis.

Commissioner Anderson Lattimore asked Arbet how this site was chosen.  The reply was that various locations were reviewed within a one mile radium of the current tower.  Public-owned land with the proper elevation and proximity to fiber optic cable were the determining factors.

The conditional use permit was approved unanimously, as amended.  This issue requires the approval of the Airport Commission next week, the Parks Commission the following week, and the Common Council’s approval on November 5th.

The last item had to do with the resolution proposed by the Finance Committee to approve the 2013 consolidated plan – the annual plan for the Community Development Block Grant(CDBG)/HOME Program.  Even though there were several organizations represented who are set to receive CDBG grants next year, none of them spoke during the public hearing.  The commission approved the resolution unanimously.  Lattimore abstained from the vote.

 

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