Oak Creek - Having missed its deadline to begin construction of a hotel and airport parking structure at College and Howell avenues, Syner G Properties applied for, and was granted, an extension, giving the developer until November, 2014, to break ground.
Conversation at the Nov. 7 Common Council meeting about the amendment for the planned-unit development included concerns by neighbors about the height of a berm and the ability for the project property to adequately deal with stormwater runoff.
Syner G plans to build a four-story, 108-room Four Points by Sheraton hotel and a 1,187-space structure for airport parking at the intersection. Restaurant, retail and other uses are likely on the property as well.
The city has agreed to fund $2.7 million of the $27.5 million project, which is in tax-incremental financing district 10.
Shining a light on problems
Two residents of Jewell Street, located south of the proposed site, said they worried that allowing a four-foot berm - rather than the previously approved six-foot berm - will mean the headlights of cars in the parking lot will shine into their home.
City staff members countered by saying the parking structure is now to be 250 feet further from any residence, making the smaller berm adequate. Doug Seymour, director of community development, noted that the berm is planned for an already-elevated area and will be planted with evergreens that will act as a visual block.
The residents said they also worry the creation of new impermeable surface will mean more stormwater runoff, and that the plans don't go far enough in addressing that. The residents cited last year's floods and said that if the parking lot does flood, the water will go into their basements.
The residents noted that the Milwaukee Area Technical College campus water retention pond is not draining completely, causing flooding down Jewell Street. They said it is choked with weeds, stopping it from properly draining.
Too soon for answers
Seymour said that due to where the plans are right now in the approval process - the site plan is still preliminary - it's difficult to get an accurate answer to drainage questions.
"At this stage when you're talking about the zoning, you can't give them those answers," he said. "That's when the site plan and stormwater plan is approved. The questions have to be asked, and they will be asked and answered. At the time of rezoning, it's difficult to address them."
When the site plan and stormwater plan do come for approval, they must meet Oak Creek's requirements.
City Engineer Michael Simmons said the site plan must have a pond large enough to support the city's requirement and must maintain it on a yearly basis. He added that the engineering department has a set of calculations to set the size and depth of the pond for the developer.
When the pond is set, it must be reviewed on a yearly basis to assure adherence to the city's guidelines for drainage.
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